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What Are Your Miranda Rights?

o-MIRANDA-RIGHTS-facebookIt’s incredibly important that citizens know what Miranda rights are and when these rights need to be given—or not given—to you.

What are Miranda rights?

The Miranda rights were the result of the Miranda v. Arizona case in 1966. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police must give a formal warning to people in custody, so suspects are aware of their rights to an attorney before interrogation and can refuse to answer any self-incriminating questions. This directly relates to the protection of the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

While the wording can vary from state to state, here is the Miranda rights warning:

“You have the right of remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

By giving these rights, police are able to use any statements or evidence collected during the interrogation in court later. Failure to do this could cause a case to be overturned by the courts.

When do police have to give Miranda Rights?

Police are only required to give Miranda rights, or Mirandize a person, if they intend to question or interrogate that person under custody. Now, as a caveat to this, police do not have to Mirandize a person in order to interrogate them. Any information obtained during an interrogation where the suspect has not been Mirandized can be acted on by police, but not used against the suspect in court. In addition, if a public safety issue exists questions can be asked without Mirandizing a suspect.

Waiving your rights

After being Mirandized you can waive your rights and speak freely to police without an attorney present. If you do this you can stop talking at any time. If you say you’re no longer interested in answering questions, or you “plead the fifth,” the interrogation must stop.

Staying silent

While Miranda rights give you the right to remain silent, any person under arrest must give their name, age and address to an officer. After this information has been given, stop taking and ask for an attorney. Also, after being read your Miranda rights, you must give a clear and affirmative answer that you understand them. Silence is not an acceptable answer here.

It’s also important to note that silence can seem suspicious if you’re not under arrest or being taken into custody. Ask officers if you’re free to go. If they say yes, calmly leave. If they say no, ask to speak to a lawyer immediately and then remain silent. Any confessions given to police prior to being Mirandized can also be used as evidence.


Here are the key things you should remember when it comes to Miranda Rights:

  • Any questioning before an arrest is completely voluntary, meaning the police are free to answer questions and you are free to leave at anytime, until you are under arrest

  • Miranda rights are only given to a person if they will be interrogated under police custody, so you can be arrested and not be read Miranda rights

  • Silence, requesting an attorney, or pleading the fifth should cease all interrogation when used. This can occur at anytime you wish

  • A person under arrest must give information like their name, age, and address

  • Getting searched while under arrest is also legal since it is for the safety of the police officer

  • Any confessions before the Miranda rights can be used as evidence

Some other helpful articles and links are: