Were my Miranda rights violated?
If you have been arrested and are in police custody, it makes sense that law enforcement officials will want to interrogate you to get as much information as they can regarding the alleged crime. However, when you are facing this kind of questioning, it is very easy to be forced or coerced into saying something against their own self-interest.
Miranda warnings protect you against self-incrimination
Under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, you have the right to protection against self-incrimination. Miranda warnings, or Miranda rights, under the Fifth Amendment, serve to protect your Constitutional rights.
If you are in police custody, a law enforcement officer must read you your Miranda rights before he or she can interrogate you. The officer must tell you that:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to an attorney.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.
Keep in mind that the officer is not required to read you your Miranda rights when they arrest you or when you are in custody. They only must read them before they begin the interrogation.
What happens if the officer does not read me my Miranda warnings?
Generally, if you are in police custody, you should inform the officers that you would like to consult with an attorney and stay silent until your attorney arrives. If the officer properly reads you your Miranda warnings and you continue to answer their questions, the court may determine that you voluntarily waived your rights and anything you say can be used against you in court.
However, if the officer does not read your Miranda rights before interrogating you, anything you say during the interrogation may be considered ‘involuntary’ and cannot be used against you in court. A criminal defense attorney can review the circumstances of your arrest and interrogation and determine whether your rights were violated.