On TV, when the police arrest someone, the officer will start off by saying, “You are under arrest, you have the right to remain silent…” Most of us know that a police officer reading someone their rights is important, but what happens if they don’t?
What are your Miranda rights?
When you are arrested and in police custody, an officer should read your Miranda rights. If the police want to have you answer questions that can legally be used in court, they must read you your Miranda rights first. These rights, also called the Miranda Warning, includes:
- Right to remain silent: You do not need to answer questions, explain yourself or even speak to the officer that arrests you.
- Court can use what you say against you: If you choose to speak, the court will likely use the words you say in a way that is not beneficial to you and your case.
- Right to an attorney: During trial, it is your constitutional right to have an attorney aid you.
- Court will provide you an attorney if you cannot afford one: Because it is your right to have an attorney, the court can provide one if you cannot afford one.
What if they do not read the Miranda Warning?
Some people think that a judge will throw out a case if the police do not read the Miranda Warning. While TV media often portrays it this way, a failure to read Miranda rights does not necessarily dismiss a case. Without a reading of the Miranda Warning, anything one says after the arrest cannot be used in court.
A judge may potentially dismiss a case if the police did not have enough evidence without what you said post-arrest.