Know Your Rights
While Sisters Eternal WMC is a neutrally chartered club with the American Motorcyclists Association and are recognized as professional, family-friendly, fair and legitimate by communities, participants and the motorcycle industry, we do find the importance in knowing our rights.
Our mission is to promote a positive image for not only women motorcyclists, but the motorcycle community as well. Our Sisters come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels.
A message in appreciation for all first responders:
Thank you for your sacrifice, strength, courage, and service for all citizens. Please know that the vast majority of the citizens of our great country respect you, honor you, and are thankful for all that you do for us.
Anyone who has watched a television show about law enforcement has a heard a police officer read the suspect his or her Miranda Rights. After placing the suspect under arrest, the officer will say something similar to, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”
The wording of the Miranda rights may vary from the statement above, as long as they fully convey the message. The officer must also ensure that the suspect understands his or her rights. Should the suspect not speak English, these rights must be translated to make sure they are understood.
Miranda Rights were created in 1966 as a result of the United States Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona. The Miranda warning is intended to protect the suspect’s Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer self-incriminating questions.
It is important to note that Miranda rights do not go into effect until after an arrest is made. The officer is free to ask questions before an arrest, but must inform the suspect that the questioning is voluntary and that he or she is free to leave at any time. The answers to these questions are admissible in court.
If the suspect is placed under arrest and not read Miranda rights, spontaneous or voluntary statements may be used in evidence in court. For example, if the suspect starts using excuses justifying why he or she committed a crime these statements can be used at trial.
Silence can be used against the suspect if it occurs before he or she is read the Miranda rights. For example, an innocent person would proclaim his or her evidence or try to give an alibi rather than staying quiet. The prosecution will try to use the suspect’s silence against him or her in court.
If you are being investigated for a crime and wish to remain silent before being Mirandized, you can inform the officer that your attorney told you to never speak to law enforcement without talking to him or her first. This looks less suspicious than simply refusing to answer questions.
Right to Remain Silent
In the United States, the right to remain silent is designed to protect a person who is undergoing police questioning or trial. This right may help a person avoid making self-incriminating statements. It may also include the condition that unfavorable comments or inferences cannot be made by the tribunal because the defendant refused to answer questions before or during a court trial.
The Miranda Warning is used to inform a suspect of his or her right to remain silent after being placed under arrest. This warning came into being after the United States Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona. The court stated that a confession would be inadmissible under the Fifth Amendment self-incrimination clause unless the suspect was made aware of his or her rights and had thus waived them.
In stark comparison to the decision made in Miranda v. Arizona, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Raffel v. U.S. that once the suspect begins cooperating with law enforcement and answers questions or consents to a search, he or she gives up the right to remain silent and must continue to cooperate throughout his or her arrest, trial, and judgment.
This means that if you cooperate with the police in any form or fashion before being placed under arrest, you give up your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. Under the Raffel ruling, you cannot later reclaim your rights, even after arrest and being informed of your Miranda rights. This makes the Miranda Warning rather powerless, as the police do not have to advise the suspect of his or her rights until after a self-incriminating comment is made and/or he or she is arrested. If the suspect has already cooperated prior to arrest, he or she has already given up most of the rights that the Miranda Warning would advise him or her of.
There are some instances where remaining silent may look unfavorably upon a suspect. For example, if a person is silent before being placed under arrest, it may be inferred that he or she is guilty because there are no declarations of innocence. One way to combat this is to tell the police officer that your attorney advised you to stay silent should you ever be accused of committing a crime. Attributing your silence to your attorney’s advice looks less suspicious.
Assertion of Rights
Officer, Please understand:
I have the right to have an attorney present if you want to question me or conduct any search of my body or personal effects. I am not giving my consent to any type of search.
If I am under arrest, I wish to invoke and exercise my Miranda Rights. I want to speak with an attorney now. I do not want my personal property impounded, nor do I consent to any impoundment. I request the opportunity to secure my personal effects.
If I am not under arrest, please tell me immediately so that I may leave.