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Miranda Warnings

ANDY RADDING: You as a citizen are entitled to know your rights before law enforcement can make you talk to them.

STEPHEN REYNOLDS: The purpose of the Miranda warning is to, #1, for defendant to learn his rights of against self-incrimination.

BYRON WARNKEN: You have to tell me that I have a right to remain silent. You have to tell me that anything I say can and will be used against me.

You have to tell me that I have a right to a lawyer present during questioning.

You have to tell me that if I can afford one you will get me one.

ANDY RADDING: The Supreme Court said before a person can be questioned, he must be told this, so he cannot be intimidated into questioning any ignorance of his rights.

BYRON WARNKEN: Once I know because you have told me that I do not have to talk to you and that I can have a lawyer present maybe I will take those says the Supreme Court.

ANDY RADDING: That is what Miranda is.

STEPHEN REYNOLDS: And that needs to takes place typically on the street because anything that would be said while the officer was transporting the person if they were not Mirandized at that point could be an issue where there the statement could not be used.

ANDY RADDING: If the police do not give those warnings then by and large they are not going to able to introduce the statement against you.

More on Andrew RaddingMore on Stephen ReynoldsMore on Byron Warnken

Read 'Em His Rights, then Book 'Em Dano!

Like Hollywood, different police departments vary in the precise manner that these warnings are presented. Some officers have even omitted important rights, placing the prosecution's case in peril.

In general, when a person is taken into custody the police can't force her to answer questions -- at least, they can't do it without advising the suspect of her rights first.

Tracking the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court's opinion in Miranda v. Arizona, law enforcement must inform a suspect of the following:

  • "You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions."
  • Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.
  • If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
  • And last, but certainly not least, the following key question:

  • Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?

So, what do you imagine the right answer to that question is? [Hint: NO WAY IN HELL!!!]

If you're still undecided on what to say to the cops, take a look at what happened to a fellow who decided to "cooperate with the cops" in this video.

Law Can Be Stranger than Fiction

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