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The Miranda Warning in Florida, Part 1

by | Feb 21, 2023 | Criminal Law

One of the staples of police television shows is the reading of the Miranda warning to an individual who is being arrested. Most Americans can probably recite the Miranda warning by heart, but few truly understand what the Miranda warning actually is and does. The following is a discussion of Miranda rights in Florida and what you need to know if you find yourself being read the Miranda warning by law enforcement.


The rights referred to as Miranda rights are first mentioned in American jurisprudence in the Fifth Amendment, which reads as follows:


“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”


The term “Miranda warning” is derived from the 1966 Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, in which Ernesto Miranda sought to have a written confession thrown out due to the allegedly coercive manner in which it was obtained by law enforcement. Miranda was interrogated by police for two hours prior to signing a confession admitting to the rape and murder of an 18-year-old woman several days earlier. Miranda’s attorney objected to including the confession at trial on the basis that he was coerced into signing the confession.


In the majority opinion, Justice Earl Warren said that suspects must be clearly informed of their rights prior to questioning by law enforcement:


“The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he has the right to remain silent, and that anything he says will be used against him in court; he must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation, and that, if he is indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him.”


The decision in Miranda led to the creation of the Miranda warning, which advises suspects that


  • They have the right to remain silent,
  • that anything they say can and may be used against them at trial,
  • they have the right to have an attorney present before and during questioning, and
  • that they have the right to have an attorney appointed at no cost to them if they can’t afford to hire one.


In Florida, law enforcement adds two questions to the end of the Miranda warning:


  • Did the suspect understand the rights as they were explained, and
  • with those rights in mind, does the suspect wish to talk to the police.

If the answer to the first question is no, the officer is bound to reread the Miranda warning. If the answer to the second question is no, the suspect is deemed to have invoked his or her right to silence at that moment, and law enforcement may not question the suspect further unless and until the suspect affirmatively waives those rights.


Stay tuned for part 2 next week!


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