While many Kentucky residents recognize that they have rights when detained by authorities, they may not clearly understand how to invoke them. Miranda rights include the right to have a lawyer present during questioning and the right to remain silent when interrogated. However, invocation of the rights is necessary to access the full protection provided. Silence alone may not put an end to questioning.
The onus is on authorities to inform people of their rights. Further, it must be clear that a detained party understands these rights. If they convey their understanding but proceeds to talk, their speech might be used as evidence. Waiving these rights can occur through making statements on a voluntary basis. An explicit statement of intent, in other words, is not required.
In some detention situations, an individual suspected of illegal activity might not have the mental capacity to clearly understand Miranda rights. While field sobriety testing in a possible DUI situation might be warranted, statements made in such a case might be questionable because of the intoxicated state of an individual. Similarly, questioning a juvenile or an individual with a mental disability might result in evidence problems because of a lack of understanding of one’s Miranda rights. Failure of an official to inform a party of their Miranda rights could also undermine the admissibility of statements made during a confrontation.
A criminal defense lawyer might evaluate police reports, video evidence, and a client’s explanation of the actions leading to a detention and charges to determine whether protocols have been followed. In some cases, errors in procedure might be used to argue for charges being dismissed. In other cases, certain elements of a prosecutor’s case might be weakened as violations of Miranda rights are addressed.