If you have watched any sort of crime drama on TV, it is very likely that you have heard a police officer say, “you have the right to remain silent” to an alleged perpetrator while putting them in handcuffs. The right to remain silent is just one of your Miranda rights under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Miranda rights protect you from self-incrimination
When a police officer is questioning you, it is easy to get flustered and say the wrong thing. The purpose of the Miranda rights is to prevent people who are in police custody from making self-incriminating statements in the presence of law enforcement.
The Fifth Amendment Miranda rights are typically read as follows:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”
As the person being questioned, it is typically advised that you do not answer any questions or make any statements without your lawyer present.
Miranda rights must be given before interrogation
Your Miranda rights must be read to you by law enforcement before beginning the custodial interrogation. However, your rights do not have to be read to you during the arrest or while you are in custody. They just be read before the questioning begins.
What happens if I was not read my Miranda rights?
If New Jersey police questioned you without informing you of your Miranda rights, anything you say during the interrogation, even a confession, may not be admissible in court. Any evidence found as a result of your statements may also not be admissible. An attorney specializing in criminal defense matters can review your case and determine whether your Fifth Amendment rights were violated.