Term of the Day
Definition - What does Miranda Rights mean?
What are the Miranda rights?
Police officers are required to read a list of information to the person they arrest immediately after the arrest is made before any questioning can take place. The Miranda rights were set in place after the Miranda vs Arizona case in 1966 and refers to the process in which someone is informed of their fifth and sixth amendment rights. Miranda rights usually come in a certain format, but the Miranda rights can also be read differently so long as all of the major points are made clear to the person being arrested.
What do the Miranda rights need to inform a person of?
In order for a Miranda rights reading to be classified as legal, the officer must inform the person of six different things:
- Miranda rights should inform them of their right to remain silent and not answer questions if they please.
- Know that any words or actions they take can be used in a court of law against you.
- You may consult an attorney before they are questioned by the police and are allowed to have an attorney present while being questioned.
- Know that if they cannot afford an attorney, one will be sent to represent them free of charge.
- If you begin answering questions after your Miranda rights, you can stop at any time and request an attorney be present.
- Ensure that the person understands his or her Miranda rights as they have been read to them.
The Miranda rights tell the person that they can then choose whether or not they want to have an attorney present before they begin questioning. The Miranda rights are a way to be undeniably sure that someone understands exactly what they can and cannot do and how their actions after being read their Miranda rights may affect them down the road.
What are the exact words to the Miranda rights?
Miranda rights are in place to ensure the safety of people, and therefore the process of reading them is very strict. The exact phrasing of the Miranda rights warning can change from place to place in the United States, however the most commonly heard version of the Miranda rights are as follows:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do 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 to you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?”
This version of the Miranda rights is the most popular and known not only amongst people, but also the officers who read the Miranda rights because of how clear and concise they are.
What if I am not read my Miranda rights?
If you are not read your Miranda rights, any statement you make is considered “involuntary” and cannot be used against you in any case. If the police have failed to read you your Miranda rights, inform your lawyer and see what the best option to pursue is.