Have you ever been questioned by the police, read your rights and not known what they meant or how to respond? The reading of your rights seems straightforward but there’s quite a bit that goes into it. For instance, if at any point during questioning, you wish to exercise your right to remain silent, the police must stop their questions. You can be arrested without first being read your rights because the police are only required to read the Miranda Warning if they plan to interrogate. If you’re questioned later, the investigator must read you your rights before questioning.
If public safety is in question, you can be interrogated without having your rights read to you and any evidence found can be used against you in court. If arrested, you would still have to answer general questions about your name, address, etc. Also, you can be searched, and any confession given before being read your Miranda Rights may be used as evidence in court.
Your Miranda Rights, otherwise known as the Miranda Warning, are exactly that, your rights. The warning has 4 distinct parts.
1. You have the right to remain silent
This first sentence is cut and dry in its explanation. Exercise your constitutional right and remain silent if you so choose.
2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law
Focus on two words in this sentence, “can” and “will.” Do not put yourself in an even more precarious position by saying or doing something that will give the officer and court a greater advantage.
3. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
This part of the Miranda Warning signals a few things. One, you have the right to an attorney. Two, if you request an attorney, all questioning must stop until an attorney is present. When requesting an attorney, be forceful about it. If you are unsure and use phrases like “I think” or “I might,” the court can say you didn’t exercise your right.
4. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these in mind, do you wish to speak to me?
Fully understand the phrases above before answering this question and exercise your constitutional rights.