Jonesboro Attorneys

Understanding Your Miranda Rights

Many people have heard it in movies and television shows, but do they actually know what the Miranda Rights mean?

The Miranda rights were established after a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, declaring that any person must be told their Fifth Amendment right to not make any self-incriminating statements whenever they are taken into police custody.

The most common version of Miranda Rights looks 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 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?

If a person indicates in any manner—at any time before or during questioning—that he or she wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must stop. If a person decides that he or she wants an attorney, the interrogation must stop until legal representation is present. At that time, the person must have an opportunity to confer with the lawyer and to have him or her present during any subsequent questioning.

If law enforcement officers fail to make you aware of your Miranda Rights, nothing said in response to a custodial interrogation can be used against you. Furthermore, any evidence that is derived from that improper custodial interrogation is also considered inadmissible in court. For example, if the police fail to make you aware of your Miranda Rights and questioning you leads them to illegal drugs, those drugs and the contents of that interrogation are both inadmissible unless they can demonstrate that they would have found the drugs without your statements.

What Should I Say When I’m Under Arrest?

People typically make the mistake of blurting out admissions in the heat of the moment or allow the police to bait them into admissions. The best thing to do is be polite, be cooperative, provide identification, and say nothing other than to request an attorney. When they say “you have the right to remain silent,” you should follow that advice.

If you have been arrested or a crime in Arkansas, request a consultation with our Jonesboro criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Paul Ford today.