Defendant Rights PDF Print E-mail

Upon arrest a defendant has a few basic rights to be aware of including their Miranda Rights and Right to fair bail.


Miranda Rights

Your Right To Remain Silent:


We have all heard of our Miranda Rights but many people either don't know exactly what they mean or miscontrue exactly what they entail. Does this mean that if an officer fails to read you your rights you get off scott free? Well not exactly. Read on....


What do the Miranda Rights Say?


Unlike many things pertaining to law, the exact wording of the Miranda Rights has never been nailed down by a judge or the United States Supreme Court decision upon the meaning of the rights. Many Missouri Law Enforcement agencies have in fact simply created a basic set of statements that may or may not be said to the accused before any questioning takes place.


We have broken the basic Miranda Rights statements as well as included related excerpts from the Supreme Courts decision.


  1. You have the right to remain silent. 
    • The Court: "At the outset, if a person in custody is to be subjected to interrogation, he must first be informed in clear and unequivocal terms that he has the right to remain silent."
  2. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. 
    • The Court: "The warning of the right to remain silent must be accompanied by the explanation that anything said can and will be used against the individual in court." 
  3. You have the right to have an attorney present now and during any future questioning. 
    • The Court: "...the right to have counsel present at the interrogation is indispensable to the protection of the Fifth Amendment privilege under the system we delineate today. ... [Accordingly] we hold that an individual held for interrogation must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation under the system for protecting the privilege we delineate today." 
  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you free of charge if you wish. 
    • The Court: "In order fully to apprise a person interrogated of the extent of his rights under this system then, it is necessary to warn him not only that he has the right to consult with an attorney, but also that if he is indigent a lawyer will be appointed to represent him. Without this additional warning, the admonition of the right to consult with counsel would often be understood as meaning only that he can consult with a lawyer if he has one or has the funds to obtain one. 
    • The Court continues by declaring what the police must do if the person being interrogated indicates that he or she does want a lawyer...
"If the individual states that he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present. At that time, the individual must have an opportunity to confer with the attorney and to have him present during any subsequent questioning. If the individual cannot obtain an attorney and he indicates that he wants one before speaking to police, they must respect his decision to remain silent."


Can you be arrested without being read your Miranda Rights? YES!


The Miranda Rights are designed to protect you from incriminating yourself during questioning by the police. Police simply need "probable cause" to arrest any individual of a crime. Probable cause is any adequate reason based on facts and events to believe that an individual has committed a crime. The only time police are required to read the "Miranda Rights" is before interrogating a suspect. Failure on their part to do so may cause any subsequent statements to me inadmissible in court, however the arrest in still legal and valid.


Right to Bail


Bail is a guaranteed liberty by the 8th Amendment of the United State Constitution and was designed to protect defendants from unfair bail practices or in some cases no bail at all.


The 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflcted.


While in some cases it may take several hours or up to a full day to set bail for a particular crime, every accused individual has the right to have a fair bail set and the opportunity to post such bail. If your friend or relative is in a situation where bail is not being set and it has been over 24 hours then you should contact an attorney immediately for counsel.

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