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Most in Jacksonville have likely heard that famous line “You have the right to remain silent…” on TV or in movies. Many may already know that these are known as “Miranda Rights,” yet few may understand what they mean and what protections they may offer suspects when being interrogated by police.

The Miranda Rights originated from a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of . The defendant in the case signed a confession presented to him by law enforcement officers after two hours of interrogation. At no point was he informed of his right to remain silent and his right to have an attorney present. The attorneys who represented him at his trial and subsequent appeals argued that the omission of these details made his confession involuntary. In a 5-4 decision, the Court agreed. From that case came the mandate for law enforcement officers to explain the following elements to suspects before their interrogations:

  • That they have the right to remain silent
  • That anything they say can be used against them in a court of law
  • That they have the right to consult with an attorney and have one present during questioning
  • That an attorney will be appointed for them if they cannot afford one
  • That an interrogation must stop once they invoke the right to remain silent
  • That an interrogation must stop once they invoke the right to speak with an attorney

Miranda Rights need only be explained when one is in police custody. The Florida Stop and Frisk Law allows law enforcement officers to detain a suspect believed to have been involved in an offense without arresting him or her. In such a case, an officer would only need to review a suspect’s Miranda Rights if and when he or she is placed under arrest.