Officer arresting someone

What Are Your Miranda Rights?

By Joel Hancock

Most of us who have seen either a legal TV show or movie and have heard the police make a statement such as “You have the right to remain silent” before arresting an individual. This is part of what is known as your Miranda rights or Miranda warning. Your Miranda warning warns the individual of his or her constitutional rights. Here is what you should know if you are ever stopped by the police.  

The Origin of Miranda Rights

Under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution, individuals have the right against self-incrimination and right to an attorney. Miranda rights, which are those rights originated from a case in 1966 (Miranda v. Arizona) in which the police went to an individual’s home (Miranda) as he was suspected of stealing money from a bank worker. He signed a statement of admission that he was guilty of both rape and kidnapping while voluntarily at the police station. But after he was tried and convicted for those crimes, he appealed the case and the U.S. Supreme Court eventually agreed to hear it. 

The Court’s decision was in favor of Miranda, finding that since he was in police custody at the time that he made his statements, he was never advised of his rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. This case led to the adoption of rules by each state, with each state’s police must follow regarding warning individuals in police custody of their rights. 

Miranda rights include something like the following: 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 can not afford one, one will be provided to you.”

These Rights Are Supposed to Protect You

Should you be interrogated by the police without first being read your Miranda rights, any incriminating statements made will be inadmissible as evidence against you. 

After you have been read your Miranda rights, should you ask for an attorney and express that you do not want to talk, the police must immediately cease any questioning. However, if the police fail to give you a Miranda warning while in police custody and you provide an admission of guilt regarding where evidence can be located, both the admission and the evidence is inadmissible in court. However, those who are “Mirandized” but waive their rights and choose to continue speaking may have the statements that they make used against them in court. 

It is in your best interest to consult with a criminal defense attorney after you have been read your Miranda rights. The attorney can explain to you which questions you should and should not answer. 

Although Miranda warnings must only be read when you are being held in police custody, what often happens is that when police officers question individuals, those individuals do not feel free to leave because they feel intimidated by the authority of the police. 

However, it is important to remember that there is certain information that Miranda rights do not cover. If you are asked for your identification and insurance information during a traffic stop, you are obligated to provide it – you cannot invoke any right against doing so. 

Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Haven’t Been Read Their Miranda Rights

If you or a loved one has been questioned by the police while in police custody without first being read your Miranda rights, any incriminating statements that you make may not be used against you. By eliminating these statements, it can help to minimize or eliminate your charges. Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, can help! To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

About the Author
Joel Hancock is a native of Carteret County, NC. He devotes 100% of his practice to defending those accused of traffic infractions, DWI, misdemeanors, and felonies in Carteret County, NC.