Why Is It Called Miranda Rights?
In 1966 the Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona that the police must inform people in their custody of their Fifth Amendment rights to an attorney and against self-incrimination before questioning them. This is where the term “Miranda Rights” comes from.
What Are Miranda Rights?
When reading your Miranda Rights the police must inform you:
- 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 appointed for you.
If they do not do this, then they have violated your Miranda Rights and not informed you that you do not have to answer the questions of police officers and can request an attorney.
When Do Police Give Miranda Warnings?
Unlike on TV, the police do not read your Miranda Rights when they arrest you, they must do so before they interrogate you in custody. You will not be given the Miranda Warning while you are just in jail. If the police officers fail to remind you of your Miranda Rights, then they may not be able to use anything you say in the interrogation as evidence.
We strongly recommend heeding your Miranda Rights and not saying anything in the interrogation that may point to your guilt. You may need to provide ID and answer basic questions.
Fifth Amendment Miranda Rights
Miranda Rights come from the Fifth Amendment which protects people from self-incrimination. In the 1966 Supreme Court case, Ernesto Miranda signed a confession after a lengthy police interrogation. The confession he signed stated that he was confessing with knowledge of his legal rights, but the police never explained his legal rights.
When the Supreme Court issued their decision, they noted the fact that he was not informed that he had a right to legal counsel. The interrogation was also coercive and legal counsel would have protected him from police wrongdoing. In their ruling, the Supreme Court decided that Ernesto Miranda could not have waived his rights because he did not have an understanding of his rights.
What Happens If the Police Do Not Inform Me of My Miranda Rights?
If the police do not give you a Miranda warning before questioning you while in custody, then anything you say is considered involuntary. This means that statements or confessions made during that interview and any evidence that was discovered from it will be thrown out. Police need to inform you of Miranda Rights to use any information they discover during questioning.