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Make sure the Miranda warning actually helps you

San Jose residents look to the law to protect their rights in various situations. This includes when faced with the potential of criminal charges. A drunk driving stop, for example, can leave a person more vulnerable to a conviction depending on how the process is handled. One of the ways this can happen is when defendants provide information to law enforcement unknowingly or without the guidance of a lawyer.

The Miranda warning gives people the opportunity to avoid unnecessary incrimination by allowing them the chance to decline to answer questions from police. This can be done at any time, even after some questions have already been answered. However, if care is not taken, the Miranda warning can work against a defendant.

How can the Miranda warning hurt a person?

A person may think that by simply not answering a question and remaining silent, he or she is invoking the Miranda warning. That is not true. Silence is simply that and it allows law enforcement to use any actions such as body language and head nods and more can all be utilized in court. It is only when a person specifically states that he or she does not want to answer questions that the Miranda warning offers protection.

When would a person want to use the Miranda warning?

Even if information seems innocent enough, it may hurt in the long run. Choosing to wait to answer police questions until a lawyer is present is common and can be a great way to keep all defense options open whether for alleged theft or other crimes. This is one of the primary reasons for using the Miranda warning.

Does the Miranda warning cover all questions?

Some information is allowed to be asked. This includes basic personal data such as address and name. Anyone stopped by police is required to provide this level of information even if they do not want to answer other questions.

What parameters must police follow with the Miranda warning?

Police must read the Miranda warning to a suspect before asking any questions apart from biographical ones. If a person asks to suspend questioning, police must heed that request.

Officers can still arrest a person if no questions have been asked and even if the Miranda warning has not been read. The warning has no power to guard against an arrest.

Getting the facts first

No matter what type of criminal charge is at hand, getting educated about the process and how to receive a fair defense is paramount. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following an arrest to get guidance on how to interface with police questions.

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Law Office of Gregory M. Alonzo
31 E. Julian St
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San Jose, CA 95112

Phone: 408-673-9124
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