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Written by Attorney Seth Morris


Most people have a general idea of their Miranda rights. Thanks to countless television shows and true-crime series, many people at least know they have certain rights upon arrest. But your Miranda rights are far more complicated than what’s depicted.

A Miranda warning is designed to protect individuals from self-incrimination, a right under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Any evidence obtained could be deemed inadmissible if law enforcement fails to inform you of your Miranda rights. So, knowing your rights and what happens if the police don’t respect them could benefit the outcome of your case.

What Are Miranda Rights?

Miranda rights, which stemmed from the landmark case known as Miranda v. Arizona, describe the rights law enforcement officials must read you when they want to question you on suspicion of your involvement in a crime.

In Miranda v. Arizona, the defendant Ernest Miranda was interrogated for more than two hours before he ultimately confessed to the crime. Later at trial, his confession was used as evidence to convict him.

In Miranda v. Arizona, questions arose regarding a defendant’s right to protect themselves against self-incrimination, as protected by the fifth amendment of the United States Constitution.

Your Miranda Rights

The United States Supreme Court has established your Miranda rights. Here, your rights include:

  • The right to remain silent, as anything you say to law enforcement could later be used against you in court
  • The right to an attorney, whether you can afford one or one, needs to be appointed to you by the court

After the police read you your Miranda rights, you can then waive your rights or invoke them. If you waive your rights, anything you say to law enforcement could later be used as evidence against you at trial. For this reason, you should never waive your Miranda rights unless your attorney advises you otherwise.

Waiving or Invoking Your Rights

Invoking your Miranda rights may be the only way to protect yourself if you are accused of or suspected of committing a crime. Anything you say to law enforcement will be analyzed for evidence of guilt or involvement in a criminal offense.

Exercise your right to remain silent and obtain legal representation as soon as you become aware that police are attempting to question you—this could protect you from the criminal penalties associated with a conviction. It should also be noted that even if you waive your Miranda rights, you can change your mind and invoke your Miranda rights at any point.

When Are Miranda Rights Required?

Miranda rights must be read if you are interrogated by police or arrested. However, police are not required to read you your Miranda rights if:

  • You are arrested and taken into custody but not interrogated
  • The police stop you for questioning
  • The police are booking you and requesting personal information such as your name, date of birth, or other demographic information
  • If the police are investigating a potential criminal offense

What Does “In Custody” Mean?

Miranda warnings are required when someone is in custody and being interrogated. If you are in police custody, you are not free to leave and have otherwise been deprived of your liberties.

If you are in handcuffs, in the backseat of a police car, or are not permitted to exit a police interrogation room, you may be in police custody. At that point, if your Miranda rights have not been read, your constitutional rights may have been violated.

When the police question you about your involvement in a crime or ask you questions that could result in an incriminating response, law enforcement officers must read you your Miranda warning. Nothing you say could be considered inadmissible at trial if they do not.

What If The Police Don’t Read Your Miranda Rights?

If the police do not read your Miranda rights or fail to do so promptly, your constitutional rights against self-incrimination may have been violated. That does not necessarily mean the charges against you will be dropped. However, the state’s prosecuting attorney may be more willing to work with you to negotiate a plea agreement or dismiss the charges against you if their case relies on illegally obtained evidence.

Your attorney can give you a better idea of what might happen with your case after having reviewed the circumstances of your Miranda rights violations.

Reach Out To Morris Law for Help

If you suspect your Miranda rights have been violated and do not know where to turn for help, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Oakland criminal defense lawyer at Morris Law.

If your constitutional rights have been violated, we will be here to help you protect your future and get justice. Schedule your free, confidential consultation today when you call (510) 225-9955 or fill out our online form.