Miranda Warnings Must Be Given In Correct Spanish

Miranda Warnings Must Be Given In Correct Spanish Banner Image

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided on Monday that a district court judge erred by admitting comments made by a suspect after he was given his Miranda warnings in English and “poor” Spanish.

The Circuit Court ruled that a Miranda warning given in English and Spanish to a Spanish-speaking suspect is insufficient if a police officer’s translation fails to convey the true meaning of the arrested person’s rights.

As you may have heard on television of the movies, a Miranda warning is your right to remain silent, the fact that anything you say may be used against you in court, your right to an attorney before speaking to the police and if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you before you are questioned by police.

This issue arose when a detective used the word “libre,” meaning “without cost,” when giving the Miranda warning to a Spanish-speaking suspect.  Expert witnesses testified that this was an incorrect translation.  They testified that “libre” instead means free as in “being available or at liberty to do something,” and not as in free of cost.

If you have been stopped by law enforcement and are being questioned, remember that you have a Constitutionally-protected right to remain silent, not answer any questions and to be able to consult with your attorney before answering any questions.  If you cannot afford an attorney, you will be able to speak to a public defender when you are first brought before a judge.  Also remember this; it is never a good idea to answer questions without an attorney present or to think you can talk your way out of something.  This usually only provides the prosecutor with incriminating statements to be used at you at your criminal court case.

If you have been arrested or contacted by police in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Pasadena, Downtown Los Angeles or Santa Monica, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.