Just about everyone can recite at least the first few lines of the Miranda warning thanks to shows like Law & Order, but not many people really know all of it, or what happens if the police don’t read someone their Miranda rights. Furthermore, not very many people know what any of it really means even if it is read to them.
What Are My Miranda Rights?
The Miranda rights come from the U.S. Supreme Court’s Miranda vs. Arizona ruling. It essentially requires officers to inform you of certain rights you have when being arrested. They are supposed to read your rights to you prior to questioning. An arresting officer is supposed to tell you that:
- 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 have a defense attorney present when you are being questioned
- If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, the state will appoint an attorney to you
Essentially, a Miranda warning is required in any setting where you are being detained by the police. No matter where you are, if you are being restricted from freedom of action by the police, they are required to read you your Miranda rights.
The primary purpose of reading the Miranda rights is to warn you that anything you say, even unwittingly or out of context, could potentially be used as evidence of your guilt during a trial. That’s why defense attorneys generally agree that the best thing you can do after being arrested is to keep your mouth shut.
What If an Officer Fails to Read Miranda Rights?
The police are only required to give a Miranda warning if they are arresting you. Anything you say to them before you are arrested could potentially be used against you as evidence even if they don’t read you your rights. That is, so long as they aren’t holding you.
If they have arrested you, but have not read your Miranda rights, then anything you say when questioned after your arrest may not be admissible as evidence in a trial. It does not mean, however, that you are necessarily free to go or that the case will be thrown out.
The Miranda warning is extremely complex, but the best advice we can give you is that if you are arrested, contact a defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. An attorney will be able to walk you through the ins and outs of the Miranda rule, and how it affects your case.
The Lewisville, TX defense lawyers at Julian, Crowder & Shuster have years of experience dealing with police and Miranda violations.