“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?”
This is what everyone is referring to when they talk about their Miranda Rights. What does it mean? Today I am going to explain each and every phrase of this “magical” string of words that every police and courtroom drama TV show uses.
“You have the right to remain silent.”
You do not have to answer any question the police ask you. In fact, you do not have to say anything to the police. In nearly every situation it is best to keep your mouth shut. Ask any police officer if they have ever had someone talk themselves out of getting in trouble. I doubt the answer would be yes. You must plainly tell the police “I want to take the fifth” or something along those lines.
“Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
Ok. To be more clear you SHOULD NOT say anything to the police! Your answers won’t be limited to use at a trial. The police can use what you say as justification for search warrants.
“You have the right to an attorney.”
You can talk to an attorney for advice prior to answering any questions. If you are considering speaking to the police you should consult with an attorney prior to doing so. But attorneys keep regular business hours, right? Yes, but by asking for an attorney the police must wait to ask you questions until one is present. Remember to be persistent; investigators tend to forget that you want an attorney. Gently remind them.
“If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”
You will be provided an attorney if you request one and if you qualify under the Federal guidelines as indigent. Make sure you take advantage of this if you qualify.
“Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?”
The police will ask if you understand the warning as they read it.
If you are being accused of a crime or if the police want to talk to you about a crime, contact me today at (770)387-4LAW.