What Are Miranda Rights?

Miranda rights came about from a 1966 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in a case called Miranda v. Arizona. In that case, which involved a rape and kidnapping, the Court ruled that a statement from a suspect that could be incriminating would not be admitted into evidence unless the suspect is informed about his or her rights, and then chooses to knowingly waive those rights.

If a criminal suspect is detained in the custody of law enforcement, the suspect must be given the Miranda warning before that suspect is questioned. The Miranda warning may differ slightly from one area to another, but in general the suspect must be warned that he can remain silent and doesn’t have to speak, that if he or she chooses to speak anything said can be used in court, and the suspect has the right to an attorney.

Miranda rights are important because many suspects do not realize that they don’t have to speak to police. Miranda rights can prevent suspects from incriminating themselves unnecessarily. Under the Miranda case, if a law enforcement official fails to give a suspect a Miranda warning, the officer can still interrogate the suspect, but the suspect’s statements cannot be used in court.

Have you been arrested and feel that you weren’t given a proper Miranda warning? Are you confused about whether a Miranda warning was required in your situation?