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What Are the Miranda Rights?

Miranda Rights are an essential part of the protection for the accused in a criminal investigation. If you have ever watched a criminal justice show, you have no doubt heard the Miranda Rights or Miranda Warning recited by a police officer after the officer has placed the individual under arrest:  

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”  

Young lady being told her miranda rights

Where do the Miranda Rights Come From?

Since 1966 in the landmark Supreme Court case, Arizona v. Miranda, officers have been required to inform defendants that they have a right not to incriminate themselves and have a right to an attorney. These rights are found in the Constitution, respectfully the 5th Amendment, the right to not self-incriminate, and the 6th Amendment, the right to an attorney.    

They are named after Ernesto Miranda, as his case determined that the rights needed to be read.  

When do the Miranda Rights Activate?

It’s important to note that these rights are not automatically read when police encounter a suspect but only activate after the individual is arrested and the police begin the interrogation. If the police wish to question you when you are in their custody, they must give a full Miranda warning. But if you are not in police custody — meaning, you are otherwise free to leave — the Miranda warning isn’t required. Police may ask simple identification questions without triggering the need for the warning. It’s important to remember that if the police are not asking questions, they do not need to read the Miranda Warning.  

Area for questioning

How do I exercise my right to remain silent?

The easiest way to claim your right to remain silent is to affirmatively tell the police that you are exercising your right to remain silent.  

Simply remaining silent is not enough. If you answer questions after stating that you wish to remain silent, you will be deemed to have waived your right to remain silent.  

If I exercise my right to silence, will this negatively affect me?

Law enforcement cannot use the fact that you did not provide a statement to indicate your guilt.  

Should I remain silent or answer law enforcement?

It’s best not to answer any questions before speaking to an attorney. In fact, you should affirmatively ask if you are being detained and have an attorney present.  

What If I am not read my Miranda rights? Will my case be dismissed?

No. Your case will not be dismissed. However, any statements you make without being advised of your rights will be inadmissible.  

If I request an attorney, will I get one right away?

If you are indigent and need an attorney, the Court can appoint one for you at your first court appearance at your request. If you already have an attorney, you may be able to give them a call immediately when you request to speak to an attorney.  


Don’t volunteer information to police officers. Know your rights and question if you are being detained. If you are, affirmatively tell the police that you are invoking your right to remain silent and wish to talk to an attorney.   If you have problems with your Miranda Rights, please feel free to contact an Illinois criminal defense attorneys at O’Flaherty Law; we would be happy to help you.    

June 16, 2022
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