What are Miranda Rights? Where did they come from?

What are Miranda Rights?

Also known as the “Miranda warning”, Miranda rights is a series of rights, that a police officer must repeat to anyone that they arrest and/or interrogate. Being under arrest is when you are being deprived of your freedom to leave. The Miranda rights include the right to remain silent, the right to have an attorney present during questioning, and the right to have a government-appointed attorney if the suspect cannot afford one. They are supported by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Fifth amendment states

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Where did the term Miranda” come from?

Miranda attorney

After his arrest, Ernesto Miranda confessed to robbery, kidnapping, and rape during a police interrogation. He was not given a full and effective warning of his rights prior to the confession. In 1966, he was convicted of these crimes in a landmark case, known as Miranda v. Arizona. In the ruling for this case, the United States Supreme Court found it unconstitutional for his confession to be used against him because he was not advised of his legal rights. With this ruling, they extended the Fifth Amendment protections to also include any situation outside of the courtroom. Therefore, any time that law enforcement takes a suspect into custody, law enforcement must make the suspect aware of their legal rights.


What happens if the police do not Mirandize me?

When police officers question a suspect in custody without first giving the Miranda warning, any statement or confession made is considered to be involuntary, and cannot be used against the suspect in any criminal case. However, if a suspect makes a spontaneous statement while in custody before police have the chance to tell him his rights, law enforcement can use the statement against the suspect, as long as police interrogation did not prompt the statement. In addition, any evidence discovered as a result of an involuntary statement or confession will likely also be thrown out of the case.


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