If you’ve seen any crime movies or television shows, then it’s likely you think that police officers are required to read the Miranda warning (aka “Miranda rights”) when a suspect is arrested. But that’s not true! Police only have to give you the Miranda warning when (1) you’re detained or arrested AND (2) you’re being interrogated or questioned. Our advice? If they start asking questions, don’t say anything and ask for a lawyer!
What is the Miranda Warning (aka “Miranda Rights”)?
The Miranda Warning is a statement that police are required to read to you before they question or interrogate you. It states your Fifth Amendment rights and warns about self-incrimination. The United States Supreme Court created the rule in the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona.
The Miranda Warning says the following:
- 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 speak to a lawyer, and to have a lawyer present during any questioning.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you.
- If you decide to answer questions now without a lawyer present, you have the right to stop answering at any time.
When Do Police Have to Read the Miranda Warning?
If police arrest you without reading the Miranda warning, that’s normal. Any statements you make after your arrest are admissible if they are not responses to questions. For instance, if you start talking about what happened on your own, anything you say can and will be used against you.
If police arrest you AND they start asking you questions, they must read you the Miranda warning. If they don’t, anything you say can be thrown out. So if they start asking questions, don’t say anything and ask for a lawyer! The only time it is ever appropriate to answer their questions is when you have an attorney with you.
If they are asking you questions, it’s because they want to use what you say against you in a court of law. Don’t give evidence against yourself! Even if you did nothing wrong and were falsely arrested, anything you say can and will be used against you. It’s better to tell your story to an attorney from Conyers & Nix before anyone else.
Remember: anytime you are being questioned by police, don’t say anything! Call us so we can advocate on your behalf and protect your rights.