What Are Miranda Rights?

Miranda Rights exist and are afforded to all American citizens as part of the U.S. Constitution. Miranda Warnings are suppose to be read to every person who has been placed under arrest, as well as those persons who are in police custody for questioning but not under arrest. The Warnings stem from the U.S. Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona (1966) which determined that an individual must be advised of their right to speak with an attorney prior to answering any questions from law enforcement. Statements obtained from individuals who have not been advised of their Rights are not admissible in any court proceeding against that individual.

There are no court rulings which dictate a particular wording of the Warnings, but the general text 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?”

It is important to understand that the individual must unequivocally assert their Miranda Rights. Evoking one’s Rights must be clear and concise. You may not simply say, “I think I want a lawyer” or “Maybe I should talk to an attorney”. The best thing to say immediately after being advised of your Rights is, “I want to talk to an attorney now”. At that point, answer no other questions and make no other statements.