What Are Miranda Rights?


No one really expects to get arrested, but if it happens, what should people know about their rights? What sort of tactics or techniques are investigators allowed to use in order to get information? What do Miranda rights actually mean?

Ever wonder where the expression, “I’ll take the fifth” come from? How about the Miranda Warning? Is there a relationship with the Sixth Amendment? These questions are answered within the The Bill of Rights. In 1789, The Bill of Rights was ratified with ten amendments. Over 200 years, it’s provided every U.S. Citizen with unalienable rights. Some rights include freedom of speech, religion and right to bear arms.

Fifth Amendment

In 1791 judicial protections were created within the Fifth Amendment. This amendment includes the right of due process; can’t force anyone to testify against oneself in a court of law and unlawful to convict a person twice for the same crime. Also, inclusive in the amendment is the illegal seizure of private land without appropriate compensation, the privilege to remain silent and the right to a grand jury in a federal offense. Restricting anyone of life and liberty is prohibited.

The most used part of the Fifth Amendment is the right to not self-incriminate in a court of law. When tried, defendants often use a statement that immediately offers them protection from testifying against oneself. This statement is known as “taking the fifth”. Lawyers must stop questioning the offender. They must seek and provide outside witnesses and evidence to solve the crime. An accused can’t be punished for using the entitled right of “Using The Fifth”.

Sixth Amendment

Along with protective privileges of the Fifth Amendment comes the Sixth Amendment. This amendment guarantees the right for a fair and speedy court case. Defendants are guaranteed to a trial with a jury of peers and legal counsel. They are entitled to seeing, hearing and confronting their witnesses. If the accused is unable to afford legal counsel a lawyer is appointed by the court.

Miranda Warning

If arrested for a crime, the ‘Miranda Warning’ must be delivered. It informs and prompts the suspect of his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. It also places law enforcement with limits on incarceration and interrogations procedures. Prior to 1966, suspects were not protected from coercive questioning tactics and restrictive incarnation practices.

In 1966, the Arizona Supreme Court found the Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights of Ernesto Arturo Miranda were infringed upon at the time of his arrest. The issues surrounded the entrapping questioning tactics and isolating arresting procedures used against him. As a result, the Arizona Supreme Court established guidelines for all law enforcement. These guidelines are now known as the ‘Miranda Warning’.

The Miranda Warning reads as, “You have the right to remain silent. If anything is said, it will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to a lawyer during questioning, if you can’t afford one, a lawyer will be appointed if you so desire. Do you understand the rights I just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

More to the Miranda Warning

If the Miranda Warning is not given at the time of arrest, statements from the accused cannot be used in court as evidence. Failure to deliver the Miranda Warning does not exempt the accused from receiving retribution for the crime.

Voluntarily speaking to law enforcement, after the Miranda Warning has been read, means that the accused has waived his right of silence. Most information obtained, after waiving their rights, often has a negative impact on the accused. Unfortunately, anything said will be used in court.

The offender can change their mind after waiving their rights of silence. The fifth can be exercised anytime during interrogations, incarceration and court proceedings.

An accused has a right to an attorney during questioning. If the accused has not requested a lawyer, law enforcement can obtain evidence through interrogations. Once the offender requests an attorney, all questioning must stop. Interrogation resumes once an a lawyer has been appointed by the court.

Arresting Procedures

It’s important to know that all citizens’ rights are protected at the time of an arrest. Arresting an individual removes the freedom from the suspect. Law enforcement officers must follow arresting guidelines before restricting a suspect’s liberties. If violated, they can be challenged in a civil rights trial.

For legal custody or arrest to take place, law enforcement officials must witness the crime, have probable cause or evidence that the crime was committed by the accused and possess an arrest warrant obtained from a judge. It also includes using the officer’s handcuffs, a safe place in the police vehicle, verbally starting the conditions of the custody and before any interrogations, address the Miranda Warning.

It’s unlawful for a law enforcement officer to arrest a person on lack of evidence, indefinite suspicions and “power of the badge”. They can’t use unusual amount of force, coercion or cruelly handle suspects.

Knowing your Rights

The thought of being arrested is intimidating. Regardless of the severity of the offense, it’s recommended that citizens secure a lawyer to represent them. A lawyer’s job is ensure that the liberties and legal processes of the accused are not violated.

If arrested, use “the fifth.” You’re entitled to fair custodial treatment, counsel and full protection under the law.