Hey there! Attoreny Laura Sterling here. You’ve probably heard of “Miranda rights” from TV shows – you know, that bit the cops have to say when they arrest someone? Those rights are super important and they come from a big court decision back in the day (Miranda v. Arizona in 1966). Basically, the court said people need to know their rights so they don’t accidentally give them up.
Here’s what the police should tell you if you’re ever arrested:
- The right to remain silent: Zip it if you want. You don’t have to say anything to the police if you don’t want to.
- The right to an attorney: Lawyer up. You’re allowed to have a lawyer there when you’re being questioned. Can’t afford one? No worries, one will be given to you for free (that’s your public defender).
- The warning that anything they say can and will be used against them in a court of law: Watch your words. Anything you say can be used in court, so be careful about chatting.
- The right to stop questioning at any time: Take a timeout. You can stop the interview anytime – just say you want to be quiet or you want your lawyer, and they should stop bugging you.
These rights are a big deal because they help you stay safe and make sure you don’t say anything that could hurt your case if you end up in court. If the police don’t tell you these rights when you’re in their hands, anything you say might not even be allowed to be used at trial.
Just remember, these rights kick in when you’re under arrest and the police are grilling you. If you’re just chilling and not in handcuffs, or they’re not asking you pressing questions, they might not have to give you this spiel. Oh, and depending on where you are, the words might change a little, but the main points are always the same. Stay smart about your rights!