If you are facing arrest for a crime, the arresting officer will read you the Miranda warning. Most people who have watched a detective show have heard these rights. However, fewer people understand what they truly mean.
Knowing what rights you have is important and may keep you from saying something incriminating towards yourself.
The Miranda rights
According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, the Miranda warning stems from the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. The warning includes:
- The right to remain silent
- The right to an attorney, even if paying for one is an issue
- The right to have the attorney present when interrogated by law enforcement
If the officer did not read a suspect his or her rights, or the suspect did not give a valid waiver, a judge may prevent some evidence or testimony from the trial.
What waiving your rights means
FindLaw states that a suspect should clearly voice these rights to have full protection. This includes stating out loud or signing something that states invocation of the Miranda rights. Without doing this, the officer may assume the suspect is voluntarily waiving his or her rights. This implied waiver can be damaging to the suspect.
An implied waiver may occur if, after hearing the Miranda rights, the suspect continues to talk and make statements that are self-incriminating. This waiver also applies if the suspect does not talk for a long time and then begins talking. This is why a suspect should clearly invoke the rights so there is no ambiguity.
It is also possible to invoke the rights at any time. Even if a suspect expressed the desire to waive the rights, he or she can invoke them later.