Knowing your civil rights is always important, especially when you encounter the police. Police officers will use someone’s ignorance against them and trick them into giving up their rights. They can easily bend the law in their effort to enforce it.
Your Miranda Rights are so important that the failure to advise you of those rights directly impacts whether or not the state can use your statements to police in their prosecution of you. When you understand what your Miranda Rights are and when police have to advise you of them, you will do a better job handling an interaction with the police and be in a better position to plan a criminal defense strategy.
What are your Miranda Rights?
There are two components to your Miranda Rights. The first is the right to remain silent. The police cannot coerce you into speaking once you invoke your right to silence. They may try to tempt you into speaking, but they cannot force or compel you to answer questions against your will.
Additionally, you have the right to an attorney. A lawyer can be present when you interact with the police to help you prepare for your future criminal defense and limit the mistakes you make during that interaction. These rights are so crucial that a failure to advise you of them could play into your defense strategy.
When must the police tell you your rights?
It is a common misconception that police officers must read you the Miranda Warning at the time of your arrest. Some officers may provide the Miranda Warning at the time of arrest, but others wait until later.
It is only necessary for officers to provide the Miranda Warning before they question or interrogate someone in state custody. They can question you before they arrest you without telling you about your Miranda Rights, and they can arrest you and never Mirandize you if they don’t question you. However, if an officer arrests you and then questions you without advising you of your Miranda Rights, that failure could impact whether your statements to police are admissible in court.
Learning about your rights is a good step for those trying to plan a criminal defense strategy.