What are Miranda rights?

Miranda rights are a set of rights that must be given to individuals who are in custody and being interrogating by police or other law enforcement agents. These rights arise under the privilege against self-incrimination that is contained in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. They are named after the case in which the United States Supreme Court first held that such rights must be given, Miranda v. Arizona, decided in 1966.

Although the rights do not need to be given in any particular order, they are usually given as:

  1. You have the right to remain silent.
  2. Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law.
  3. You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning, if you wish.
  5. If you decide to answer any questions now, without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
  6. Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?

Once these rights are given, the suspect can invoke his or her right to remain silent and does not have to answer any questions. If statements, admissions or confessions are given by a suspect who is in custody and being interrogated without Miranda rights being read to the suspect, any statements, admissions or confessions are inadmissible against the defendant in court.


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