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A Short Overview of Miranda Rights in Wisconsin Criminal Cases

Posted on in Criminal Law

Waukesha County criminal defense lawyerIn 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Miranda v. Arizona that set forth certain constitutional rights that must be read to criminal suspects who are in police custody and are going to be interrogated. These rights, commonly referred to as "Miranda rights," come from the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. In Wisconsin, these rights are codified in state statute (Wis. Stat. 971.30).

What Are the Miranda Rights?

Broadly speaking, Miranda rights ensure that defendants in criminal cases are aware of their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and their Sixth Amendment right to counsel during police interrogations. The specific language of the Miranda warning that must be read to a suspect depends on the jurisdiction, but typically includes something to the following effect:

  1. You have the right to remain silent.

  2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

  3. You have the right to an attorney.

  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

Under the Fifth Amendment, individuals have the right to refuse to answer questions if doing so would incriminate themselves. This right applies even if a defendant is handcuffed and in police custody—the Supreme Court has held that this is when defendants are most vulnerable and likely to incriminate themselves without realizing it.

The Sixth Amendment provides that defendants have the right to counsel during criminal proceedings, including during police interrogations. This means that suspects have the right to have an attorney present during questioning, and if they cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for them by the state.

When Do Miranda Rights Apply?

The general rule is that Miranda rights apply when an individual is placed in police custody AND is subjected to interrogation by law enforcement officers. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, Miranda rights do not need to be read if an individual voluntarily speaks with police officers outside of custody, such as at the individual’s home. Additionally, Miranda rights may not need to be read if an individual makes an unprompted statement during a routine police interaction—such as when providing identification or giving a routine traffic ticket.

When the Miranda rights apply but are not read, any statements made by the defendant are not admissible as evidence in the proceedings against the defendant. This includes a full confession, if the person was not reminded of their rights. However, getting the statements excluded from the case will generally require motions to that effect by the defendant’s attorney.

Contact a Waukesha County Criminal Defense Lawyer If You Have Been Charged With a Crime

If you have been charged with a crime or believe that you may be under investigation for a crime, it is important that you speak with an experienced Waukesha criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can help protect your constitutional rights and explain what options may be available to you based on the specific facts of your case. Call 262-232-6699 for a free consultation with a member of the team at Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP today.

Sources:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/1995/statutes/statutes/971/30

http://www.mirandawarning.org/whatareyourmirandarights.html

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