Since 1966, no court decision has been more impactful in criminal situations than the Miranda warning. In Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court ruled that a suspect must be informed of his rights against self-incrimination and his right to legal counsel. While there is no precise language that must be used in advising a suspect of their Miranda rights, the warning must inform the suspect of his right to remain silent and that anything that is said can be used against the suspect. Also, the suspect has a right to counsel. Specific verbiage is not require to fulfill the Miranda warning requirement.
Normally, Miranda must be given if the suspect is not free to leave and is about to be questioned. There are essentially six elements for Miranda to apply:
1)Evidence must be collected;
2)Evidence must be testimonial, i.e. that is provide information relevant to the matter at hand;
3)Evidence must be obtained while suspect is in custody;
4)Evidence must be the fruit of the investigation;
5)Evidence must be proffered by an agent of the state;
6)Evidence must be offered by the state during the criminal prosecution;
So, are there incidents when the Miranda warning does not apply? Yes, there are. It’s called the Emergency Exception or public safety exception and is applicable when the officers involved are responding to an emergency situation. The public safety exception applies where circumstances present a clear and present danger to the public’s safety and the officers have reason to believe that the suspect has information that can end the emergency.
Miranda is a key element in the preservation of the rights of a suspect. In most instances, the law enforcement officers that have detained a suspect know more about the intricacies of Miranda than the suspect so the suspect should in most instances take advantage of the warning and keep silent while seeking legal counsel.