• North Carolina Criminal Law| Understanding the Miranda Warning
  • March 23, 2012 | Author: M. Moseley Matheson
  • Law Firm: Matheson Law Office, PLLC - Raleigh Office
  • During a Misdemeanor Arrest or Felony Arrest the Officers, at some point, MAY read the Defendant their Miranda Rights. The reading of these rights is intended to advice the Defendant of certain rights they have and how they apply to the charges against them.   

      Even without speaking with a Durham DWI Lawyer or any other North Carolina DWI Lawyer, most anyone in the United States of America can recite the Miranda Warning.  "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you can not afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Do you understand these rights that have been read to you?" Even with being able to recite them, most Americans have some misconceptions about these warnings and how they apply.  Even if not facing a Felony Arrest or Misdemeanor arrest understanding the Miranda Rights is important.    

      To begin with, a short review of where the Miranda Warning came from. The Miranda Rights are ground in the 5th and 6th Amendments of the Constitution, specifically rights of due process and legal representation. The case that generated the Miranda Warning is Miranda v. Arizona. In it, statements made by Miranda during questioning were found inadmissible by the United States Supreme Court since his rights, as provided by the Constitution, were not explained to him prior to questioning.   

      The most common misconception that some people have regarding their Miranda Rights are that they MUST be read to them at the time of their arrest, and if not, their statements cannot be used against them. In fact, a Defendant does not EVER have to have their Miranda Rights read to them SO LONG AS THEY ARE NOT QUESTIONED. The Miranda Rights only apply before the Officer can question the Defendant. Statements made by the Defendant, without being questioned first, are ADMISSIBLE as voluntary statements.   

      Even if the Defendant is questioned without being mirandized, there are several exceptions that permit these statements to come into court. An example of this is currently being litigated in the case of Umar Farouk, better known as the Underwear Bomber. The exception in question permits questioning of the Defendant, even without being Mirandized, when the life of another could be in immediate danger. In his case, a Judge determined that this exception applied due to the fact that other potential terrorist could also have been attempting a similar plot that day. The justification of this exception to the Miranda Warning is that the safety of another's life supersedes the Constitutional rights of the individual.   

      Though this has been a brief review of the Miranda Rights and the warnings they require, it is still advisable that you always speak with an attorney before ever speaking with law enforcement during and/or after an arrest.


    Disclaimer  - Information and advice offered in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is specific to North Carolina law. The viewing, receipt and/or exchange of information from this article does not constitute an Attorney-Client Relationship. For assistance regarding your particular legal question speak with an Attorney practicing in the field from which your questions derives.