If you watch cop shows in Pennsylvania or read crime novels, you are probably familiar with the standard recitation that police typically give when advising an arrestee of his or her Miranda rights. You may not have ever given this much thought, but if the police ever arrest you on criminal charges, you need to be aware of your Miranda rights. According to FindLaw, if police do not advise you of your Miranda rights prior to questioning you, the evidence obtained from the questioning is not admissible in court. 

Miranda rights get their name from a Supreme Court decision in 1966 in the case of Miranda v. Arizona. In that decision, the Supreme Court ruled that before the police can question a person they have taken into custody, they must first advise that person of his or her Fifth Amendment right not to give self-incriminating evidence. Therefore, the police must give a Miranda warning to someone they have in custody before they can question that person.

Contrary to the way it may appear from movies and books, there is no specific script to a Miranda warning that police need to follow, but there are three basic components that a Miranda warning must include:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • You have the right to stop answering questions at any time once you have started.
  • You have the right to have an attorney present during police questioning.

While advising you of your rights, the police should also inform you that if you wish to have an attorney present but cannot afford legal fees, the court will appoint an attorney for you and that anything you say is admissible in court if you choose to give up your right to remain silent. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.