What are Your Miranda Rights?
When police officers make an arrest, they are required to read you your Miranda rights. The exact verbiage is as follows:
“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?”
Let’s unpack this a bit so you can better understand your rights at the time of an arrest:
- Silence: You are under no obligation to answer questions from law enforcement officers, no matter how forcefully they ask you. In fact, in some cases, it’s better to wait until you have legal representation because if you do choose to answer, your own words could come back to haunt you. An attorney will help you avoid this.
- Attorney: Anyone charged with a crime has a constitutional right to legal counsel. Some people cannot afford private attorneys, which is why states employ public defenders whom the court provides to defendants as needed.
- When they’re read: Police are only required to read Miranda rights to a suspect if they intend to interrogate them while the person is in custody. Therefore, just because you did not have Miranda rights read to you does not mean the arrest is invalid.
- Rights not read: If you were arrested and then questioned, but your Miranda rights were not read, there is a possibility your case could be dismissed or that some evidence you provided during questioning could be excluded from use in court.
To learn more about your Miranda rights and to receive sound legal guidance, meet with experienced Berks County criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.