When a person first gets arrested, they may be in a vulnerable state, making it more likely that they will say something incriminating to law enforcement. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects against self-incrimination by requiring police to read you your “Miranda rights” before the interrogation begins.
What are Miranda rights?
The Miranda rights were created as the result of a Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona. If an officer is interested in questioning you about a crime that occurred, they should inform you of your Miranda rights by saying 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 an attorney.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
Once the rights have been read to you, the officer should ask you if you understood, and ask whether you would like to speak. Generally, if you speak to the officer after your rights were read, courts will consider you to have waived your Miranda rights.
What happens if I am not read my Miranda rights?
If an officer fails to read you your rights and proceeds to interrogate you about a crime, anything you say during that interrogation may not be admissible in court. Therefore, if you are interrogated without being informed of your rights and confess to a crime, the confession would not be used against you. Additionally, if you told police where to find evidence of the crime and they retrieved the evidence, the evidence would also not be admissible if it was collected because of the unlawful questioning.
Many people say things they shouldn’t while in police custody due to fear, intimidation, and anxiety. It may be best that you stay silent during the interrogation, other than to request an attorney. Your criminal defense attorney can also review the circumstances of your interrogation and help determine whether your Constitutional rights were violated by law enforcement.