Whether or not you were already born on June 13, 1966, something significant occurred on that day in a U.S. Supreme Court. It was on that day that the highest court in the land handed down a ruling regarding protection of personal rights during police interrogation. If police ever pulled you over in New York for a traffic stop or arrested you on suspicion of a crime, you understand how highly stressful such situations can be.
Perhaps, you’re unsure what your rights are or how to exercise them when a police officer or team of investigators has taken you into custody or is questioning you. It’s a fact that the more you know ahead of time, the easier it is to protect your rights if a problem arises down the line.
The June 1966 ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling in a case known as Miranda versus Arizona. You may have seen countless movies where actors playing police make arrests and recite their suspects’ rights before placing them into the backs of their patrol cars. If police say they are placing you under arrest, it’s best to try to remain calm and cooperate, but you should also pay close attention to what they say and do.
Your rights when in police custody stem from the Miranda versus Arizona case in 1966. Reciting those rights before arresting someone is now part of standard police protocol. In fact, the U.S. Constitution protects you from facing interrogation without first having been informed of your rights. The problem is that you can’t exercise or protect your rights if you don’t know what they are.
What exactly are your Miranda rights?
The case heard by the high court in June 1966 resulted in a conviction being overturned. The defendant had recanted a confession, unaware at the time that he did not have to answer interrogation questions without the presence of legal representation. Since that ruling, police must inform you or anyone else they arrest of their rights, which include the right to request legal representation, the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning by authorities.
Police investigators know you do not have to answer questions under interrogation if an officer has not verbally informed you of your Miranda rights. If you believe officials have violated your rights, you may bring the matter to the court’s attention. In the past, judges have dismissed cases or ruled that certain evidence is not admissible in court if a personal rights violation has occurred.