Miranda's rights cannot be used just once. Miranda rights can be used at any point during an interview, even after answering certain questions. The interrogation must terminate when Miranda is invoked. Assume Joe was arrested on suspicion of burglary and his Miranda rights were read to him. However, when asked if he wanted a lawyer, Joe said only "yes." The police should not question Joe further but rather stop all questioning immediately.
Joe could still make statements without incriminating himself so long as those statements are made voluntarily. For example, he could say "I don't want a lawyer but I will talk to you about it later." However, the police cannot use these statements against him at a future date since they were obtained in violation of his right to counsel under Miranda.
In addition, anything that Joe says can be used against him so long as the police did not provide him with additional warnings prior to asking questions or making statements. For example, if the police returned to ask more questions about the burglary after Joe had requested a lawyer but had not yet received one, he would not be able to claim that his earlier statement had been coerced and therefore inadmissible. However, if he then decided to answer the officers' questions without an attorney present, his answers could be used against him at trial since he had not terminated the interrogation when asked to do so by the officers.
In contrast, if a person answers questions after being given Miranda warnings, the individual is said to have intentionally waived his or her Miranda rights. Invoking one's Miranda rights is an effective way for an accused person to stop police from asking further questions.
An individual can invoke his or her Miranda rights in several different ways. One method is to not answer any more questions without first speaking with an attorney. If officers try to continue questioning an individual who has invoked his or her right to counsel, they must do so through an attorney.
Another method is to simply say that you want to remain silent. This should be done directly after invoking one's Miranda rights. Officers must stop questioning the individual right away; otherwise, the individual can change his or her mind and provide additional information later.
A third method is to write out words indicating that you wish to remain silent on paper and then give them to an officer. It is recommended that you use the "I want to remain silent" form provided by the Supreme Court as a guide.
Making Use of Your Miranda Rights If the subject communicates in any way, before or during questioning, that he or she intends to stay silent, the interview must be terminated. If the subject expresses a desire for a counsel, the questioning must be halted until an attorney arrives. Otherwise, the statements made by the suspect while not under oath and outside of the presence of an attorney could be used against him or her in court.
In general, questions may not be continued indefinitely, but rather must cease for a reasonable time period. The amount of time required will vary depending on the circumstances of the case. One factor that may influence the length of time necessary to stop questioning is the level of detail provided by the defendant. For example, if the defendant provides very little information beyond a mere denial of involvement in the crime, then officers may continue questioning him or her to obtain further details about his or her relationship with the victim and the location of the incident.
However, if the defendant provides a detailed account of the events leading up to the offense, then officers should stop questioning him or her. Providing a full description of the incident will allow investigators to locate evidence that may have been disturbed by the event. Also, knowing the identity of witnesses can help officers determine whether other suspects may have had a reason to harm the victim.
Miranda Violations: Their Nature and Consequences After a suspect has invoked his or her Miranda rights, police may continue to interview him or her. However, if the police fail to read a suspect's rights, the prosecution cannot use anything the suspect says against him in court. For example, if a suspect tells officers that "the gun was mine," but police later find the gun in another person's possession, the prosecutor could not use this information at trial because the defendant had invoked his right to remain silent.
There are two types of Miranda violations: direct and indirect. A direct violation occurs when evidence is obtained in clear violation of the spirit or letter of Miranda. For example, if a confession is obtained by questioning a defendant while he or she is in custody but has not yet been read his or her Miranda rights, this would be an obvious violation of the defendant's constitutional rights. An indirect violation occurs when evidence is obtained in spite of the fact that Miranda warnings were given but not followed through with by all parties involved. For example, if officers question a suspect while he or she is being transported from one location to another without reading him or her his or her Miranda rights first, this would be an indirect violation of the defendant's constitutional rights.
Indirect violations of Miranda are generally treated less seriously than direct violations. For example, if a warning is given, but it isn't understood by the defendant, this would be considered an indirect violation.