Last week we discussed the history of the Miranda warning and the mechanics of how it is employed in Florida. In this second part we will explore the rights that are referenced in the Miranda warning and what they mean for you if you find yourself being read the Miranda warning in Florida.
The Miranda warning in Florida is generally as follows:
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 talk to a lawyer and have him present with you while you are being questioned
If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning if you wish
You can decide at any time to exercise these rights and not answer any questions or make any statements
Do you understand each of these rights as I have explained them to you? Having these rights in mind, do you wish to talk to us now?
When Is The Miranda Warning Necessary
The Supreme Court has found the Miranda warnings to be necessary in two main situations
Custody is either formal arrest or depriving a suspect of the freedom to leave that is typically associated with an arrest, while interrogation is questioning or other actions that may be expected to gain a response that would incriminate the suspect.
The Miranda warning is not necessary if the suspect is in custody but not being questioned or is being questioned voluntarily. It is only necessary prior to questioning of the suspect while he or she is in custody.
More particularly, six requirements must be present for the Miranda warning to be necessary, namely
evidence testimonial in nature,
evidence obtained while suspect was in custody,
evidence must have been the result of that questioning,
the questioning must have been carried out by agents of the state, and
the evidence must be offered by the state during criminal proceedings.
If a suspect does not offer a statement during questioning, the Miranda warning isn’t necessary, and the state cannot comment on his or her refusal to answer questions. Further, the evidence must be the assertion of a fact or to disclose other information for the Miranda warning to apply.
Additionally, the evidence must have been obtained while the suspect was in custody. Voluntarily entering a police station and providing evidence is not sufficient, nor is a brief detention on the street known as a Terry stop. The Miranda warning also applies only to evidence that is the product of a police interrogation and not from comments made during interactions such as a field sobriety test.
The Miranda warning will not protect a defendant from admissions of guilt made when questioned by someone who is not an agent of the state, unless it is unknown to the suspect that the questioner is a member of law enforcement (such as an undercover cop). Miranda warnings apply to criminal prosecutions only, not to other proceedings such as commitment proceedings or probation revocation proceedings.