The Miranda rights are based on a United States Supreme Court case called Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). That case basically held that a suspect or criminal defendant must be informed that they have certain rights, and must give up those rights before the police may question them. This was done to counter police abuse and misconduct, which was often done to get someone to confess.
In movies and on TV, the Miranda rights are usually read as soon as someone is arrested. This is unnecessary unless the person is going to be immediately questioned. The rights need not be read to someone until he or she is going to be interrogated by law enforcement.
So, what exactly do the police need to say? Here is a safe way for police to read someone their Miranda rights and get a valid waiver, so that whatever the person says can later be used against him in court:
1. You have the right to remain silent. Do you understand?
2. Anything you say may be used against you in court. Do you understand?
3. You have the right to the presence of an attorney before and during any questioning. Do you understand?
4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you free of charge before any questioning if you want. Do you understand?
5. Do you wish to waive these rights?
The police should try to get a "Yes" answer to each question to ensure the person understood and voluntarily waived each of his rights.
Sign up here to get a free printable and portable Miranda Card that has this information in a convenient and easy to use format:
The Miranda Card lists the rights as statements that a police officer would say them to a suspect. The card is small enough to cut out and carry in your pocket. Many police officers carry a card like this and use it to ensure they properly advise a suspect of his or her Miranda rights, and get a valid waiver.
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