A Miranda Warning:
Miranda Warning: “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?”
What is a Miranda Warning?
When a police officer makes an arrest they usually interrogate the arrestee. They are usually trying to strengthen the prosecution’s case by getting the arrestee to provide some evidence of guilt. By answering questions after an arrest one gives up two rights granted by the U.S. Constitution.
- The fifth Amendment right to remain silent
- The sixth Amendment right to have a lawyer present during the questioning
The information obtained by police officers through questioning of a suspect in police custody may be admitted as evidence in trial only if the questioning was preceded by the Miranda Warming.
What happens if a suspect who is in custody isn’t given a Miranda warning and answers the police officer’s questions?
If a police officer questions the arrestee without giving the Miranda warning there is nothing the arrestee says can be used against the suspect in trial.
This is called the “exclusionary rule”. The purpose of the exclusionary rule is to deter the police from violating the Miranda Rule.
Are there circumstances in which a statement by a suspect can’t be used against that suspect even if a Miranda warning is given?
Yes but only in unusual circumstances. For instance a confession following the giving of a Miranda warning cannot be used against a suspect if it’s the result of a “questioning first then a warning later”.
How do I assert my right to remain silent while I am being questioned by the police?
“I want to talk to an attorney”
“I refuse to speak with you”
“Please leave me alone”
“I don’t have anything to say”
“I claim my Miranda rights”
If the police questions me before arresting me, does the Miranda rule apply?
Miranda applies only to “custodial” questioning meaning that a person is not in custody unless a police officer has deprived a person of his/her freedom.