What are your Miranda Rights?
As a constitutional right, officers are required to provide Miranda warnings to a detainee once he or she is in the custody of the police.
This requirement to give Miranda warnings comes from the Supreme Court decision, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966). The Miranda warning serves to protect a suspect’s Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer self-incriminating questions.
The Miranda warning requires officers to inform you of your rights after your arrest and before questioning you. When you are being interrogated, an officer must explain 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.
Miranda rights may be worded differently, however, they still should adequately convey the message. Additionally, the officer must ensure that the suspect knows his or her rights.
Regardless of where an interrogation occurs, if a person is in custody the police must read their Miranda rights if they want to ask the suspect questions and use answers at trial.
What if the police don’t read your rights to you?
Having your rights not read by the police does not mean you can escape punishment. However, the prosecutor will not be able to use anything the suspect says as evidence against them. This rule is subject to exceptions, for example, if public safety is at stake.
Miranda rights are complex, and no single article can explain all the specifics. If you are facing a criminal charge, you should contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney like Jeremy D. Koop, J.D., who will explain your rights completely to you.
The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice; it is for general informational purposes only.