• Miranda rights were created after a 1966 in the U.S. Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona
  • During a police interrogation Miranda gave a confession without being informed of his basic rights protected under the Fifth and Sixth Amendment
  • Police are required to read you Miranda rights before an interrogation or any statements made cannot be used as evidence in court

A major downside of social media is the high number of people that feel worthy of giving legal advice when in reality they have no clue what they are talking about. In the world of self-taught law, the idea that police have to read you Miranda rights during an arrest is one of the most misunderstood even though it is one of the most basic rights in American law.

Miranda Warnings

The misinterpreted argument claims if a police officer does not read you a Miranda warning during your arrest then you can get your charges dropped. That is not true. Miranda rights were put into law to protect suspects during interrogation under the Fifth Amendment, which gives a criminal suspect the right to refuse “to be a witness against himself,” and the Sixth Amendment right to an attorney.

Years of TV and movies have helped to confuse the understanding of what Miranda rights actually do to protect a citizen. If a police officer does not read you a Miranda warning, the only consequence is that a prosecutor cannot enter anything you say during an interrogation as evidence to further incriminate you. That is why every line from a Miranda warning is based around questioning.

What Are Your Miranda Rights

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • If you do say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to have a lawyer present during any questioning.
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you so desire.

Miranda warnings are only required during an interrogation. It does not matter if that interrogation happens at the scene of a crime, inside a jail cell, or in the middle of a park. Once a person is in custody, police must read the Miranda rights before asking any questions if they want the answers to be able to be introduced in court. If police violate your Miranda rights by coercing a statement out of a suspect, not only is the statement inadmissible, but any evidence that was gained based on the coerced statement is as well.

Miranda V. Arizona

In 1963, Phoenix resident Ernesto Miranda was arrested and charged with rape, kidnapping, and robbery. Police did not inform Miranda of his rights before the two-hour interrogation where he allegedly confessed to committing the crimes. Miranda never completed the 9th grade, had a history of mental issues and had no counsel present during the interrogation. During his trial prosecution relied solely on his confession. Miranda was convicted of rape and kidnapping and sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison.

Miranda appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court with the claim that police unconstitutionally obtained a confession from him. The court did not agree with Miranda and upheld his conviction. Miranda’s case was then reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966. In a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Supreme Court ruled Miranda’s confession could not be introduced as evidence in a criminal trial because police never informed him of his right to an attorney or his right against self-incrimination.

The court stated the right against self-incrimination protects citizens from the vulnerability inherent in being detained. The Supreme Court cited the high incidence of police violence used to compel a confession from a suspect. Violence and other forms of intimidation deprive suspects of their basic liberties and can often times lead to a false confession. Warren went on to say the presence of an attorney is an equal fundamental right, as it enables “the defendant under otherwise compelling circumstances to tell his story without fear, effectively, and in a way that eliminates the evils in the interrogations process.”

Following Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court created the statement we know as Miranda rights that police are required to tell a suspect who is detained and being interrogated. The Miranda warning is crafted off of the basic rights Miranda was denied before giving his confession. Miranda’s conviction was reversed and he was later retried and convicted without the admission of his confession.


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