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What are the Miranda rights and what do the rights read before arrest mean?

The purpose of the rights read before suspects are arrested, called the Miranda rights for the United States Supreme Court decision requiring them, is simple. Police must fully advise a suspect of his right to silence and make sure it’s honored.

So here are the rights and what they are telling you, in my experience:

You have the right to remain silent.

Dwell on this. Is the Supreme Court trying to tell you something? The Miranda rights are also called warnings. Bad things can happen when you ignore a warning.

Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

If the police suspect you, assume they want to convict you. If they want to convict you, assume they will stop at nothing to do it. And it’s not just what you say that will be used against you. So will things you don’t say or interpretations of how you acted:

  • “He never really strongly denied our charges.”
  • “He seemed evasive answering our questions.”

Ever left a conversation wishing you’d added something? What if you get nervous and leave the meeting wishing you’d told them you were at your grandma’s the night of the restaurant break-in you just got grilled about?

You have the right to a lawyer during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before questioning, if you want.

Roll this one around your brain. What’s the Supreme Court telling you here? Not only do you have the right to a professional to help you in this situation, but the police have to cater one for you if you have no money. THINK ABOUT IT:

You have a right to something and you can get it for free. It sure seems like you ought to take it.

You have the right to stop answering questions at any time and refuse to answer any more.

Don’t overlook this one. While the police want you to forget it, it tells you who controls the interview: you.

Don’t Let Social Pressure Push You to Give Up Your Rights

Let’s face it: police questioning is downright scary, even if the police aren’t trying to frighten you. But sometimes they use intimidating or clever tactics to squeeze statements from suspects. They can even twist what you say into a meaning you never intended.

Police have a job to do: to point the finger at someone. If they want to meet with you, assume you’re the one they want to point at. We know it’s really, really hard to face down the police and refuse to talk when they so desperately want you to say something.

You need a professional whose job is protecting you and your rights.

Are You Innocent? That Might Not Be Enough to Protect You

Don’t put the police in position to make a mistake.

If police “just want to ask you a few questions,” you need to call a qualified criminal defense attorney to ask him a few questions first. Because what happens in that interview room can’t be undone, and if it goes badly for you, the consequences can last a lifetime. Call us at (888) 230-1841 or (864) 582-0416 right now to grab hold of your rights and use them before it’s too late.

 

Rob Usry
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Rob is a South Carolina personal injury and criminal defense lawyer.