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Is It Possible to Waive My Miranda Rights (Even If I Didn’t Mean To)?

Yes, it is entirely possible to waive (or give up) your Miranda rights. For instance, if you continue to answer a police officer’s questions after your Miranda warnings have been given, you have in effect waived these rights (and as a result, any statements made thereafter can be used against you in a court of law).

Miranda warnings are a short list of rights that a police officer must make you aware of once you are taken into police custody. Namely, the right to remain silent, and the right to seek the advice of an attorney (or have one present when you are being questioned). These rights are as fundamental to our way of life as anything else, and making sure that they are preserved should be of the highest order.

In most instances in the modern era, a police officer will ask a suspect to sign a waiver form that indicates that the person has in fact been read their Miranda rights, but that they wish to speak to the officer nonetheless. But this is just a safeguard that many jurisdictions have started doing to help protect them in the event that someone’s statements become an issue at a subsequent trial. The police do not have to obtain a written (or oral) waiver from the individual they are questioning after they have administered the Miranda warnings. The officer can continue to question the suspect, especially if the individual fails to assert his or her right to remain silent (or to consult with an attorney).

In one case, a person who was in custody and suspected of having robbed a local establishment was properly giving his Miranda warnings. The suspect remained silent as the police officers questioned him for approximately ninety (90) minutes. Eventually, one of the officers tells the suspect that there is a great deal of evidence linking him to the crime, so he might as well confess. The suspect then utters that he did not mean to hurt anyone during the robbery. This statement was used against him in court, even though his Miranda rights had been explained to him. The reason why is because he never verbally asserted his right to remain silent (or to speak to an attorney). In effect, the suspect waived his right to remain silent by not speaking up. This enabled the police to continue their interrogation, and elicit the damning statement.

As you can see, it is incredibly important to understand what your legal rights are under the Constitution. The experienced St. Louis criminal defense lawyers at Brinkman & Alter, LLC have been making sure people’s rights are upheld in the face of impermissible police activity for years. Our team of lawyers wants to make sure that you understand these rights, what your range of options will be, and that you are assured that we will stand by your side from beginning to end. The initial consultation is free of charge. Call today to learn more.