Miranda Rights are given to suspects who have been placed into police custody or are awaiting a law enforcement interrogation in the United States. This informs the individual of their right to remain silent, that they may have an attorney present, and that anything they say can be used in a court proceeding. It has been considered part of US law since 1966.
What are the pros and cons of Miranda Rights? Here are the key points to consider.
The Pros of Miranda Rights
1. It ensures people have full knowledge of all their rights.
Not every person who is arrested or interrogated understands the law or what rights they have. By knowing what they can do, they can protect themselves during an investigation as much as the Constitution and local laws allow.
2. It limits the ability to appeal a decision.
By informing a suspect of their rights, law enforcement limits the ability of someone to appeal a decision that goes against them in the court system. A lack of informed knowledge about what someone can or cannot do can provide grounds to appeal a conviction.
3. It levels the playing field.
In the US, socioeconomic factors are limited in the legal system thanks to Miranda Rights. Even if someone cannot afford an attorney, one can be appointed to represent them. This means the rich and the poor have the same access to the legal system in theory.
The Cons of Miranda Rights
1. It doesn’t incorporate the nuances of local laws.
For US states that border Mexico, for example, law enforcement tells non-citizens that they may inform their country’s consulate of the arrest or interrogation. Others tell people that they have the right to terminate an interview. A generalize set of Miranda Rights cannot cover every state law in the system of US governance.
2. People may not understand their rights, yet still legally waive them.
If someone answers “Yes” that they understand their rights and are willing to speak with law enforcement, then they have effectively waived their rights and may not have realized this.
3. Miranda Rights can be waived in certain circumstances.
When there is a danger to public safety, US law allows for a public safety exception to these rights. Questions to confirm public safety without briefing a suspect of their rights is still considered to be admissible.
The pros and cons of Miranda Rights is intended to protect public safety while maintaining a person’s individual rights. As with any legal system, it may not be completely perfect in its implementation, but it is a step in the right direction.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.