The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution includes a list of rights that must be explained to every person taken into police custody. Based on the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Miranda v Arizona, Miranda Rights help people avoid self-incrimination when arrested.
It’s important to be aware of your rights in the event you are ever arrested. When it comes to Miranda Rights, knowing these options can protect you from admitting to a crime or providing information that will make defending your case more difficult later.
Not every person arrested is guilty. Not all evidence carries enough weight for a conviction. And sometimes, procedural missteps can damage the State’s case. To avoid damaging your own case, be aware of these legal options. They are your rights:
- You have the right to remain silent and to refuse to answer questions.
- Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning when you are arrested and afterwards.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.
- If you decide to answer questions without an attorney present, you still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
Exercise your rights. If you have been arrested, ask for an attorney to represent you. Do not speak until you have consulted an attorney. Keep in mind that what you say just before you are arrested may impact your case; a police officer is not required to “read you your rights” until you have actually been taken into custody. But you still have the right to remain silent. Use it.
If you or someone you know is taken into custody:
- Do not waive your rights.
- Avoid making excuses or trying to explain.
If you are arrested, whatever the charge, do not resist arrest. It helps to be polite and ask the arresting officer to call an attorney for you.
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