Understanding Your Miranda Rights


You’ve probably heard the Miranda Warning on TV, during a police procedural show. The total warning every police officer should give the person they are arresting is as follows:

“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. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

The suspect must give a clear affirmative answer to the last question. Silence does not mean that the person being arrested has waived these rights, especially since the person may not speak English as his or her first language.

These rights mean that you can invoke your right to remain silent. This is a constitutionally protected right that the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects. If you are being questioned, you have the right to remain silent, and the interrogation must cease.

Likewise, if you ask for an attorney, the interrogation must cease until your legal representative arrives. At that time, you have the right to speak with your attorney and to have him or her present during any subsequent questioning.

However, the police only need to read you your Miranda Warning if they intend to interrogate you under custody. They can make the arrest without giving you your Miranda Warning; however, if they intend to question you later, they must Mirandize you before proceeding. Not doing so could result in any testimonial evidence being barred from a prosecution’s case.

If you’re being accused of a crime and are facing an interrogation, make sure you have been read your rights. Also, call an experienced Memphis criminal defense attorney who can represent you and offer you legal advice about what you can and can’t safely say in an interrogation. Remember, your rights are constitutionally protected. Any violation of your constitutional right should not be overlooked. Tell us about your situation in a case consultation. the Law Office of Stephen R. Leffler, P.C. is a firm that values effective communication with our clients and listening to your specific needs and concerns. If you have questions that need answering, we can help.

You can reach us by calling (901) 509-9112 or filling out our online form.

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