Advocating For Your Best Interests

What should you know about your Miranda rights?

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Anyone who’s watched true crime television shows or movies has likely heard an arresting police officer read someone their rights, which are known as the Miranda rights. Understanding what these rights mean and why they’re important to the criminal justice system is critical so you can ensure you’re protecting your rights if you’re ever in a situation in which officers are trying to take you into custody.

Miranda rights come into the picture during a custodial interrogation. This means that if you’re in custody and being questioned by the police, they must inform you of your rights. Being in custody means you aren’t free to leave. Being interrogated refers to any direct questioning or actions likely to elicit an incriminating response. If these conditions aren’t met, the police don’t need to read you your rights.

Key components of Miranda rights

The Miranda warning typically includes the following statements:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can be used against you in court.
  • You have the right to an attorney.
  • If you can’t afford one, an attorney will be provided for you.

These rights are designed to ensure you understand that you don’t have to speak to the police without a lawyer present and that anything you say can be used in a criminal case against you.

Waiving and invoking your rights

You can waive your Miranda rights, but it must be done knowingly and voluntarily. This means you must fully understand the consequences of waiving these rights.

If you choose to invoke your rights, clearly state that you want to remain silent and that you want an attorney. This can be done by saying one of the following:

  • I wish to remain silent.
  • I want to speak to my attorney before making a statement.
  • I invoke my Miranda rights.

Once invoked, the police must stop questioning you. This is a blanket protection, so the officers can’t call in new people to resume questioning.

There’s a chance that you’ll face criminal charges, despite invoking your Miranda rights. If those rights are violated, you may address that reality as part of your defense strategy. This can be challenging, so having legal assistance can be valuable in these cases.