A person’s rights after an arrest in Florida are an important part of the law that many people are not completely familiar with. What follows is what you need to know about post-arrest rights in Florida.
The rights a person has after arrest in the United States were first distilled by the Supreme Court in the case Miranda v. Arizona. The 1966 decision spelled out to law enforcement that a suspect must be advised of his right against self incrimination under the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution before they may question him in custody.
In the case, the suspect confessed to law enforcement that he had committed a murder after two straight hours of police interrogation. Despite signing a statement that said he was waiving his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination, the court decided that it was insufficient, as they did not explain those rights to him before questioning. Had the defendant known that he had the right to remain silent and a right to legal counsel, the court determined that it would have been likely that he would not have waived those rights and confessed to a murder.
The procedure law enforcement now uses to guarantee that a suspect is aware of his right against self incrimination has been made famous by countless police procedurals on television. Upon arrest, law enforcement advises a suspect that he
has the right to remain silent,
that anything he says can and will be used against him in court,
he has the right to an attorney, and
he will be appointed an attorney if he can’t afford one.
Using the Miranda Warning
Although pop culture may reflect differently, Miranda warnings aren’t always given immediately upon arrest. The only time they are required is prior to a custodial interrogation, which may occur many hours after the initial arrest. If the Miranda warnings are not given prior to police interrogation, the evidence obtained during the interrogation is liable to being disallowed in court.
Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to remain silent in police custody (aside from answering basic questions about identity) whether you are read your Miranda rights or not.
Failure to Mirandize
Law enforcement failing to warn a suspect of his Miranda rights before questioning may have a tremendous effect upon the state’s case against a defendant. As the law assumes that a confession given without the defendant being advised of his rights is an involuntary confession, it restricts the use of that confession against the defendant in court. Not only that, as it is “the fruit of a poisonous tree,” any evidence the state obtains as a result of the involuntary confession is also not allowed to be used against the defendant in court.
If law enforcement did not Mirandize a defendant prior to a custodial questioning, then the defendant’s attorney is likely to attack that evidence as being inadmissible. The harm to the case that failing to Mirandize the defendant inflicts can be major, possibly up to the dismissal of the charges against the defendant.