Anyone who has watched a crime show on television knows the beginning of the Miranda rights. You can vividly recall, “You are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult an attorney…”
But it tends to trail off as the fictional officers take away the prime suspect. Also, it leaves out a significant portion of the protections under the Miranda rights.
What to know about Miranda rights
The Miranda rights came from the U.S. Supreme court hearing, Miranda v. Arizona, where they established police officers need to warn about six rights when arresting suspects:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can be used against you in court.
- You have the right to an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
- You can invoke your right to be silent during or before an interrogation. If you invoke it during interrogation, the interrogation must stop.
- You can invoke the right to your attorney, and until your lawyer arrives, the questioning must stop.
The crucial aspects of the last two illustrate that if you waive your right to silence or an attorney, you can invoke those rights any time during the questioning process. Also, when reading the rights, officers may use slightly different language due to the station’s policies.
When do these rights apply?
It’s critical to note that there are two conditions under which which these rights apply:
- The suspect is in police custody
- The suspect is under interrogation
If you aren’t in formal custody, officers do not need to warn you of your rights. However, if you are arrested or under interrogation, then you can invoke any of the Miranda rights listed above. If an officer does not inform you of your rights after an arrest, it may make evidence or any questioning inadmissible in court.
This only scratches the surface of the importance of Miranda rights and how they can protect you. If you are arrested, it’s important to remember that you have the right to ask for an attorney as soon as possible. This simple step can make an enormous difference in the outcome of your case.