an member station
BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- After watching countless episodes of L.A. Law, we may think we know all we need to about our Miranda Rights. A couple of recent high-profile stories – a Nevada Supreme Court decision and the failure of authorities to read the rights to Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – have brought the Miranda Rights back into the news, and raised some questions.
Two Las Vegas lawyers shared some facts you may not know about your right to remain silent.
Rights Only Apply When In Custody
Before a suspect is arrested, the Miranda Rights don’t apply.
“If they’re not in custody, then (police are) free to ask anything they want,” says attorney Robert Langford. “But then the minute they’re in custody, they have to be Mirandized.”
Police Are Allowed To Lie To You
“What Miranda doesn’t do, is it doesn’t stop police from using tactics to get people to give information. It doesn’t stop the police from using trickery, it doesn’t stop police from lying, which the Constitution allows them to do,” says Figler. “It’s a tactic the Supreme Court has endorsed.”
Police Can’t Cut A Deal
One of the lies a police officer might tell a suspect is that if they give information, they will get a lighter sentence.
“Only the district attorney has that authority,” says Figler.
Being Drunk Is (Probably) No Excuse
Anything you say to the police in an interrogation is fair game, even if you’re intoxicated.
“Unless the person was held at gun point and they had liquor poured down their throat – if he voluntarily got intoxicated, all words that come out of his mouth are voluntary words,” says Langford.
Figler disagrees. “It’s worth challenging,” he says, since any waiver of a substantial right has to be “knowing and intelligent.”