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Miranda rights are straightforward for most Americans, even for people who have never had a run-in with the law. Millions of people have heard them read, time and time again, on television and in the movies. One doesn’t need to be a criminal to grasp the importance of not saying anything that is self-incriminating. A person’s Miranda rights, essentially, are a right to silence when in the presence or custody of law enforcement officers. Your rights are as follows:

  • You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.
  • Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.
  • If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
  • Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?

An adult reading the above rights shouldn’t struggle to see that saying anything without the guidance of an attorney is risky business. Many adults do forego their right to consult with an attorney before questioning or exercise their right to remain silent. It’s a decision that, in a significant number of cases, is made at considerable cost. If some adults are unable to comprehend the value of their Miranda rights, it’s more than likely that the majority of adolescents don’t have a clue about their rights. This is a reality that has been exploited far too often resulting in innocent young people receiving punishment for crimes they didn’t commit.


Protecting Miranda Rights for Young People

Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed three pieces of relevant legislation written to protect children, Human Rights Watch reports. The three bills:

Senate Bill 395: police cannot interrogate children 15 and under until a child has consulted with an attorney. Before, children of any age were allowed to waive their right to an attorney, even when parents had no idea their child was in custody.

Senate Bill 394: minors sentenced to life without parole can now earn parole after 24 years of incarceration. “No other country outside the US imposes life without parole sentences on children. By signing SB 394 into law, Governor Brown removes this shameful exception in California,” said Elizabeth Calvin, senior children’s rights advocate at Human Rights Watch.

Assembly Bill 1308: will extend through age 25, “Youth Offender Parole,” a special process that allows the Board of Parole Hearings commissioners to take into consideration various factors that may have led to a youth’s crime—thus reducing culpability. The bill extends the age limit from 22. Please take a moment to watch a short video:

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Criminal Attorney for Juveniles

If your son or daughter is charged with a crime, then an attorney should be present from the onset. Please contact Ronald G. Brower, his experience spanning over three-decades can dramatically improve your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.

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