We have all heard the phrase, “you have the right to remain silent”, hundreds of times while watching movies and television shows. However, people do not always fully understand what this phrase, and those that follow it, mean. It is important that you understand your Miranda rights in the event that you are arrested or interrogated for a crime.
So, what are your Miranda rights?
Miranda rights are a collection of statements that explain individual’s rights to protect themselves from disclosing incriminating information if they are questioned by an officer of the law. A law enforcement officer is required to advise you of these rights prior to initiating a custodial interrogation. The Miranda Rights are as follows:
- You have the right to 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
After reciting these rights, a police officer or investigator will ask if you understand the rights that you have been read and if you will agree to be interrogated or questioned.
Custodial interrogation is any formal questioning done while an individual is in custody. A police officer or investigator is required to recite your Miranda rights prior to asking any questions while you are in custody.
There is a common misconception that if you are not read your rights, you cannot be punished for the crime for which you have been arrested. In reality, if an individual is not read their rights before being questioned while in custody of the police, the information obtained through that questioning cannot be used as evidence in a trial.
On the other hand, if you are not placed under arrest, a police officer does not need to read you your rights before questioning you. In this situation, any information you provide can be used in court. Further, any information that you provide that may be self-incriminating can result in your arrest after the questioning is complete. In situations such as this, it is vital that to remember that you cannot be arrested for failure to answer questions, and that you should be hesitant about providing any information unless your lawyer is present.
ENLawyer’s Bottom Line
It is important that you know what Miranda rights are, and that you understand how those rights protect you from improper interrogation procedures. Not understanding your rights could lead you to make statements that can be used against you if you are arrested. If you are unsure of what your rights are when speaking to a police officer, or would like more information on your Miranda rights, contact the Law Offices of Eldridge and Nachtman.