People who are being questioned by police officers have very specific rights that are covered by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. There are two of these that police officers must ensure people know in very specific situations, including when the person is being interrogated.
You may have heard law enforcement officers reading a person their rights on television shows and in movies. These are known as the person’s Miranda rights because they stem from a court case involving a person with the last name Miranda.
What are your Miranda rights?
There are two rights that are included in the Miranda warning. One is the right to remain silent. The other is the right to an attorney. These are both valuable if you’re being questioned regarding a criminal matter.
Once the police officers read you the Miranda warning, you must decide if you’re going to invoke your rights or waive them. If you want to waive your rights, you can just keep talking to the police officers. If you want to invoke those rights, you must clearly state that you want to use your rights. You can do this by clearly stating something like:
- I want to invoke my Miranda rights
- I choose to remain silent
- I need to speak to my attorney
Simply being silent after you’re read those warnings doesn’t mean you’re invoking them. The police officers can still question you about the matter at hand.
If you clearly invoke your rights, all questioning must stop. This includes questioning by the officers who were present when you invoked your rights, as well as all other officers.
Violations of your rights can play an important role in your criminal defense. Taking the time to explore these with someone who’s familiar with your case is important. Be sure you start early so you have ample time to think through the options and develop a comprehensive defense strategy.