What Are Your Miranda Rights?
The Miranda warning (from the U.S. Supreme Court’s Miranda v. Arizona decision), requires that officers let you know of certain facts after your arrest, before questioning you. An officer who is going to interrogate you must convey to you that:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- If you do say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to have a lawyer present during any questioning.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you so desire.
When the Miranda Warning Is Required
It doesn’t matter whether an interrogation occurs in a jail, at the scene of a crime, on a busy downtown street, or the middle of an open field: If a person is in custody (deprived of his or her freedom of action in any significant way), the police must read the Miranda rights if they want to ask questions and use the answers as evidence at trial.
If someone is not in police custody, however, no Miranda warning is required and anything the person says can be used at trial. Police officers often avoid arresting people—and make it clear to them that they’re free to go—precisely so they don’t have to give the Miranda warning. Then they can arrest the suspect after getting the incriminating statement they wanted all along.
Miranda Rights, also known as the Miranda warning, is provided when a suspect is arrested by police officials or law enforcement after they are assumed to have committed an illegal crime. It is used to remind the individual of their 5th amendment right to remain silent and prevent incriminating themselves if they wish. The rights are provided when an individual is arrested and are used as a warning.
The Miranda Rights are always used when a suspect will undergo an interrogation, requiring the individual to provide a clear response to the rights. The arrest can not occur without the Miranda Rights stated. Although most people are familiar with Miranda Rights, nearly one million U.S. criminal cases are still compromised due to suspects who do not fully understand how the rights can protect them after an arrest.
What the Miranda Rights States
The Miranda Rights state that the suspect has the right to remain silent and that anything they say will be used in the court of law. It continues by stating that the suspect has the right to an attorney before speaking to the police and that the attorney can be present when the questioning begins. An attorney will be provided beforehand if the suspect can not afford an attorney, only if they desire. The individual has the option to answer any questions without an attorney present and can also choose to stop speaking at any time. The suspect is then asked if they are willing to answer any questions without an attorney present after their rights have been stated. The suspect must give a clear answer and cannot remain silent when asked if they agree to be questioned.
Using the Miranda Rights Wisely
If you’ve been placed under arrest, it’s important to remember that you are considered a suspect and anything that you say will be used as evidence to incriminate you from the prosecutor. Although you do not have to remain completely silent in front of the officers, it’s important to keep what you say to a minimum to prevent saying something that can cause you to appear guilty. Although you are not required to answer any questions about the crime that you’re accused of committing before speaking to an attorney, you still have to provide your name, address, and any information that will help identify who you are to law enforcement.
It’s best to avoid saying anything until speaking to an attorney because there is little that you will be able to say that will benefit you. If you decide to speak to the police without having an attorney present, you can always state that you want to plead the fifth to avoid answering specific questions or providing details.
If the police fail to provide the Miranda Rights to a suspect after an arrest, anything that is said will not be able to be used against you in the court of law as evidence due to a failure to have the warning provided beforehand.