What Are Your Miranda Rights? | Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.
man being read his miranda rights during arrest

What Are Your Miranda Rights?

Rachel Olszewski
Rachel Olszewski

If you’ve had the displeasure of being arrested, you’ve likely had police officers list your Miranda rights to you. It doesn’t matter what crime or charge you are being arrested for, you always have these rights. These rights are ingrained in the Constitution and other laws of this country, but it wasn’t until 1966 that police officers were required to read them to you upon arrest. To learn more about your Miranda rights, why you have them, and what they are, listen to the criminal defense attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.

What Are Your Miranda Rights?

Technically, your Miranda rights are ones that everyone is afforded by law. It is the 4th and 5th Amendments specifically that give you these rights.

Miranda rights are not their own separate act or legislature, they are rights the police are required to inform you of before your interrogation.

Why Do Police Officers Have to Read You Your Miranda Rights?

The idea was that everyone should know their rights to avoid claims that they didn’t know or were being manipulated. This became necessary in 1966 in the U.S. Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona.

During this case, Ernesto Miranda was arrested for stealing $8.00 from an Arizona bank worker. While this is a serious crime, it is far less serious than the other crimes he would admit to under questioning: kidnapping and rape. This led to an investigation by the defense, and the defendant claimed that he would never have admitted to these crimes with a lawyer present, a right afforded to him.

This led to speculation of police coercion and brutality, and more, especially when Miranda claimed that he would not have confessed or even spoken to police after consulting with a lawyer. Now, law enforcement has to read someone their Miranda rights so this argument cannot be brought up again and so everyone knows they do not have to speak to law enforcement without an attorney present.

What Happens if They Are Not Read to You?

To clarify, while Miranda rights are usually read upon arrest, they do not have to be read until before you are questioned. You cannot be questioned before being read your Miranda rights, and if you are, anything you said before being read your Miranda rights can be suppressed in court. This means it cannot be used as evidence against you.

When arrested, you do have to answer questions relevant to your identity, regardless of whether or not you have been read your Miranda rights. These questions include:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Address
  • Social security number

If the question does not pertain to identifying who you are, you don’t have to answer.

What Do Officers Have to Say When Reading You Your Miranda Rights?

Before the interrogation, but usually upon being arrested, you have to be read four specific rights, or else what you say can be suppressed. These four rights are:

  • The right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.

What Should You Do If You Are Interrogated Without an Attorney Present or Being Read Your Miranda Rights?

Never talk to law enforcement without an attorney present beyond your basic identification information. You only have to tell them who you are and where you live. Anything beyond that, you can and should have an attorney present.

While our criminal defense attorneys can fight to have what you say without an attorney suppressed, our chances are better if they did not read you your Miranda rights first.

Don’t let law enforcement create evidence against you because you don’t have legal representation. Wait for an attorney, and only ask for a lawyer or the ability to contact one. Our criminal defense attorneys are available to help you.

Rachel Olszewski
Rachel Olszewski

Rachel D. Olszewski, an attorney at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., is a dedicated advocate for clients who have suffered unjust harm. Following the legacy of her esteemed family members, Rachel specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice, and criminal defense. She is actively involved in professional associations and serves on the board of the Luzerne County Bar Association Charitable Foundation. Rachel is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania state courts and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
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