Initially, Miranda Rights were established in the United States following the trial of one Ernesto Miranda in 1963 – Miranda confessed to rape and kidnapping and was convicted based on this confession. He later learned that under US law he was actually not required to have spoken to the police upon his arrest, and he claimed that with this knowledge his case might have turned out differently. The court overturned the conviction on this basis and although Miranda was convicted for a second time in 1966 without the confession being used as evidence against him, he forever changed the way police perform arrests pertaining to interrogation. Since then, arresting officers in the United States have been required to read a suspect their aptly-names Miranda Rights during arrest if the suspect is to be brought in for questioning.
Since Miranda Rights, strictly speaking, were created to convey an individual’s rights not to incriminate themselves when under arrest, this is the major focus of the reading today, however other factors have been included in the reading to ensure that American citizens under arrest are aware of other rights given to them.
Specifically, the right to obtain legal aide is mentioned in the current Miranda readings so that anyone who is placed under arrest knows that legal aide is available to them even though they might not be able to afford it. This is very important because without a proper legal representative many people don’t understand their position within the justice system and try to argue their way out of arrests and trials without knowing what damage they are doing to their criminal record or their chances at leaving court without being convicted. A lawyer will know what you should be saying to the police, what information you should give and what questions you should not be answering and because of this it is always advisable to seek legal counsel. Without widespread use of the Miranda Rights people would be unaware of how best to deal with an arrest.
With the influx of immigrants over the past several decades, it also became necessary to add a line for those people who are not actually US citizens: “you may contact your consulate prior to trial”. Along with this it is now necessary for arresting officers to read the Miranda Rights to a suspect in a language that they will understand – failure to do so means that any information gained from the suspect after arrest will be thrown out of court because the suspect did not understand their right not to incriminate themselves.
The biggest milestone for the Miranda Rights was in 2000 when the Supreme Court decided to continue a practice that many consider part of the American culture. Most countries have some version of the reading that takes place during arrest, but none are so well known as the Miranda Rights.