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The 5th Amendment protects citizens from providing self-incriminating information to authorities. It is there as a mechanism to prevent the government from eliciting information the accused. The government has to inform the suspect of his Constitutional Rights before asking questions. Unfortunately, there are many instances where the police officers would ask questions prior to giving the Miranda warnings and there also times where government officials would elicit an involuntary statement from the suspect. The statements gained from a 5th Amendment violation cannot be used in court.
However, there is an exception to the Miranda. The Supreme Court has given the government agents the authority to ask questions before Miranda warnings are given. This authority is called the public safety exception. This authority came from the decision in New York v. Quarles. There, police officers were chasing a rape suspect who reportedly had a gun. When officers apprehended the suspect, they found an empty holster. They questioned the suspect regarding the location of the gun without administering Miranda warnings. The Supreme Court said that “the need for answers to questions in a situation posing as a threat to the public safety outweighs the need for the prophylactic rule protecting the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.” New York v. Quarles, 467 U.S. 649, 658-659 (1984).
In the Boston Bombing case, according to investigators, they were concerned that there were other bombs. So, the US prosecutor informed the investigators that they do not have to give the accused his Miranda warnings until the imminent threat is put down. The Court would allow the statements if the government could show that there was an imminent threat.
If you have questions about Miranda Warnings, contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Vik Monder at 619.405.0063 or visit Miranda Warnings Criminal Defense Attorney