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Do you know your Miranda rights?

Many Americans have heard a fake or real police officer reading someone his or her Miranda rights. It could have been either from movies and TV or from hearing it in-person. If you are still not familiar, Miranda rights begin with an officer saying, “You have the right to remain silent.” 

Here is a brief explanation if you don’t know what Miranda warning rights are or how they can protect you.

What exactly are Miranda rights?

The Supreme Court established Miranda warnings in 1966. When the police take a person into custody, they must be informed of their Fifth Amendment rights not to make statements that may incriminate themselves.

This rule means that if the police you take you into custody, an officer should tell you that:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything that you do say can be used against you in court.
  • You have the right to have your attorney present during questioning.
  • If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, one will be appointed for you if you ask for one.

When are you required to receive a Miranda warning?

Once taken into custody by the police, they must give you Miranda warnings. You should receive your Miranda warnings before further questioning by the police. The police can question you before o an arrest without providing you Miranda warnings.

What if you do not receive given Miranda warnings?

If you are not informed of your Miranda warnings once taken into custody, it will not mean charges will be dropped against you. However, any information or statements you made cannot be used against you. Furthermore, if there was evidence found based on comments you made to the police, it could be kept out of your case.

Statements that you made before receiving Miranda warnings or even after may still be used against you in the following circumstances:

  • You voluntarily provided information even though the police did not try to get you to make an incriminating statement.
  • If you yelled out some spontaneous declaration like, “I did it” at the time of the arrest, a judge might decide to allow it in court.

It is unlikely that the police would fail to give Miranda warnings when they take someone into custody, but it can happen. Making sure you know your Miranda warning rights long before they could ever be read to you could be beneficial in your criminal defense.

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