Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409. We fight to protect your rights.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges

Miranda - Protecting the Innocent

The following was written by Utah Criminal Lawyer Stephen Howard and first  published by the Deseret News on May 1, 2016 in a slightly edited form.

Posted here May 3, 2016

Celebrating 50 Years Since Miranda v. Arizona

We have all heard them in television or movies — typically as the recently captured criminal is being led away by police. "You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and will be used against you.…" In the 50 years since the United States Supreme Court decided the historic case of Miranda v. Arizona, the words of the Miranda warnings have become so common in our entertainment culture that it can be easy to forget their real purpose and the very important role that they play in protecting both the innocent and the guilty.

Nothing to Hide - Protecting the Innocent

It is well-documented that innocent people do sometimes falsely confess to crimes that they did not in fact commit. Instances of confirmed false confessions may be rare, and the circumstances leading to false confessions can be complex. Perhaps more common are cases involving true statements that may not rise to the level of a confession, but still provide support for a criminal charge. It is again well-documented that innocent people have been charged and jailed on charges as serious as murder, based in part on truthful statements that they made to police.

It is sometimes suggested that an innocent person has "nothing to hide" and should therefore be willing to talk openly with police. But the drafters of the Constitution recognized the risks involved in giving government the power to compel confessions.

A decade before the Miranda decision was announced, the Supreme Court in Ullmann v. United States discussed the importance of the Fifth Amendment’s protections. The court noted that those who drafted our Constitution "had in mind a lot of history which has been largely forgotten today." The court observed that the drafters of our Constitution "made a judgment and expressed it in our fundamental law, that it were better for an occasional crime to go unpunished than that the prosecution should be free to build up a criminal case, in whole or in part, with the assistance of enforced disclosures by the accused."

In addressing the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination, the Supreme Court stated, "Too many, even those who should be better advised, view this privilege as a shelter for wrongdoers. They too readily assume that those who invoke it are either guilty of crime or commit perjury in claiming the privilege. Such a view does scant honor to the patriots who sponsored the Bill of Rights. …"

Continuing Necessity of Miranda Requirements

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda, police have been required to specifically inform individuals of their constitutional rights before conducting a custodial interrogation. A police officer’s violation of Miranda can result in the exclusion at trial of any statements made by a defendant.

There is debate among some as to whether police should be required to strictly comply with Miranda procedures. There is debate as to whether the Miranda warnings are effective in avoiding coerced confessions. There is debate over whether the exclusionary rule is effective in deterring abusive police practices and whether the rule creates an unnecessary impediment to legitimate prosecutions.

Some note that even when the Miranda warnings are given, the vast majority of defendants still make voluntary statements to police. Some suggest that video recording technology can provide adequate safeguards, even in the absence of Miranda warnings, against coerced confessions and abusive interrogation practices.

Miranda Rights or Miranda Warnings

While there are many issues relating to Miranda that can be debated, one point is clear — the rights referenced in the Miranda warnings come directly from the United States Constitution. These rights were not created by the Supreme Court’s Miranda decision. And they exist independent of any police officer’s decision to “read you your rights.”

Make Good Use of Your Constitutional Rights

As we commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Miranda decision, if you find yourself confronted by a police officer who asks you to answer questions or make a statement, remember that the United States Constitution guarantees you the right to remain silent, and the right to first seek the assistance and advice of a qualified attorney. Do honor to those who created our Constitution and to those who defend it — make good use of your constitutional rights.

Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Utah

Utah Criminal Lawyer in Salt Lake CityIf you have been contacted by a police officer or other government investigator or if you have been charged with a crime, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be key to ensuring that your rights are protected. Contact us today to see what the right attorney can do for you.

Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. Case was dismissed.
  • 402 Reduction Lawyer Utah 2-Step Reduction - Client needed a two-step reduction to bring a prior conviction to the misdemeanor level. Collection of substantial evidence of reform and rehabilitation convinced a normally reluctant prosecutor to stipulate to the defense 402 reduction motion.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with residential felony burglary and theft charges. Effective cross-examination of alleged victim at preliminary hearing resulted in an admission by the alleged victim that the charges were based on a false report to police, made for the purpose of getting revenge against the defendant. Case was dismissed outright.
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

Aggressive is good. Effective is better. The best defense strategy in any given criminal case can require in-depth analysis of the facts and a thorough understanding of applicable statutes, case law, and complex procedural and evidentiary rules. Having an experienced attorney on your side....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Our criminal defense lawyers have represented clients facing some of the most serious felony charges on the books in Utah. Whether you are facing prosecution for felony or misdemeanor charges, you can be assured that our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and determination necessary to help you achieve the results you need. Choosing the best defense attorney for your case will be one of the most important decisions you make....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

A Utah criminal prosecution can result in a lifetime of consequences. Beyond jail and prison, a conviction can affect many areas of life, including employment, housing, finances, family, and much more. Never plead guilty without first consulting with an experienced criminal attorney. Understanding what is at stake is the first step....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Hope

Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are reasons to remain hopeful, and there are things you can do right now that can help increase the odds of a successful outcome. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the various options you have, and can help you....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.