Understanding the Miranda Warning
One key to protecting your rights and interests in the event you are ever arrested is having a basic understanding of criminal law, and more specifically the rights you have in the face of an arrest, also known as the Miranda warning. Almost everyone has heard the opening line of the Miranda warning – “you have the right to remain silent” – either from a movie or television show, but many people do not fully understand its purpose. The Miranda warning outlines every citizen’s Fifth Amendment rights to protect them from self-incrimination.
The Miranda warning and your rights can unfortunately be more complicated than one might assume, and a police officer must read you the Miranda warning if you are going to be questioned. If you have questions about your Miranda rights, or the legal options available to you in the face of an arrest, a criminal lawyer may be able to help you.
Your Miranda Rights
The Miranda warning is typically read very fast and many people do not understand all of the rights it covers. Your Miranda rights include the right to remain silent, right to an attorney, the right to an appointed attorney if you can’t afford one, and the right to not answer questions until a lawyer is present.
Many people believe that an officer must always read these rights to an individual when they are being arrested, but that is not the case. They are only required if a law enforcement officer or agent plans on questioning the person in custody.
Make sure you understand the details of the Miranda warning. Many officers will try to force you into answering a question that you might not want to answer, but you can legally refuse to speak unless you have an attorney with you.
Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.