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Why Miranda rights are important

Many people in South Carolina know of their Miranda rights from watching television shows in which the famous warning is depicted at the scene of an arrest. However, people may be less certain about how these warnings carry over into real life and how it may affect their rights in a criminal case if the police fail to provide them with the appropriate warning. When police arrest someone on allegations of a crime, they must present the necessary warnings, which include telling the person that they have the right to remain silent, that their words could later be used against them in court, that they have the right to a lawyer and that a lawyer can be appointed for people who cannot afford to pay.

In other words, people who are arrested on criminal charges have a right to a lawyer and do not have to speak to the police, no matter what other techniques the police may use in order to convince people to confess or provide other information. These warnings were affirmed by a 1966 Supreme Court case that determined that people brought into custody by the police must be notified of their rights under the Fifth Amendment.

When the police do not provide a proper warning of a person's Miranda rights after arresting them, their confessions or other statements may be taken by the court as involuntary and inadmissible at trial against them. Even evidence discovered as a result of those statements might be excluded from court.

Despite the serious potential impact of denied Miranda warnings, police continue to not inform people of their rights in cases across the country. People who have been arrested but not apprised of their rights may consult with a criminal defense attorney about how they can protect themselves and work to prevent a criminal conviction.

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