If you find yourself in the distressing situation of law enforcement officers arresting you and accusing you of committing a crime, you need to be aware of your Miranda rights and how they protect you.
As explained by MirandaWarning.org, you have the following four rights under the Miranda rights:
- 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.
The reason why they go by the name of Miranda rights is that the United States Supreme Court delineated them in the historic Miranda v. Arizona case in 1966.
Officers must “read” you these rights any time they arrest you. However, you need to keep in mind that they only come into effect at the time of your arrest. Prior to then, whatever information you give to the officers is voluntary. As such, they can use it against you in court.
Even though your Miranda rights only apply once officers arrest you, your constitutional rights from which they flow apply at all times. These rights are:
- Your right to remain free from unreasonable searches and seizures (Fourth Amendment)
- Your right against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment)
- Your right to an attorney any time you face the possibility of criminal prosecution (Sixth Amendment)
You can assert these fundamental rights whenever officers attempt to question you. While the law requires you to identify yourself to officers when they request it, that is all it requires you to do. It does not require you to answer any further questions they may have. In other words, your Miranda rights actually apply at all times; they just go by a different name prior to your arrest.