It never fails when you’re watching a crime drama on TV – you hear, “You have the right to remain silent.” If you’re like most people, you know that that phrase is part of the Miranda warning – it’s a warning that police often recite to people they’re arresting.
Here’s what you need to know about your Miranda rights.
What Are Miranda Rights?
The Miranda warning is a set of facts that police have to share with you after you’re arrested but before you’re questioned. If an officer is going to question you, he or she must let you know that:
- You have the right to remain silent. This means you don’t have to answer any questions at all.
- If you say anything, it can be used against you in court. That means even if you insist you’re innocent, everything you say can be brought up in court.
- You have the right to have a lawyer present during questioning. Everyone has the right to legal representation, and you can choose your lawyer if you want to.
- If you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you. That means if you don’t have the money to hire an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender to represent you.
When Do Police Have to Give You the Miranda Warning?
Police only have to give you the Miranda warning if you’re in police custody and they’re about to question you. If they’re just talking to you on the street and you’re not being detained – that is, if you’re free to go – police do not have to tell you about your Miranda rights.
A lot of times, police will put off an arrest until they’ve talked to a person without giving them a Miranda warning. They don’t let you know you don’t have to talk to them – but when you give them the information they want, they’ll arrest you.
What if Police Don’t Give You a Miranda Warning?
In some cases, it doesn’t matter whether or not police gave you a Miranda warning. If you answered investigators’ questions before you were arrested, the Miranda warning wasn’t necessary – but if you were taken into police custody and interrogated without receiving the warning, your attorney may be able to exclude your answers from your trial.
Do You Need to Talk to a Milwaukee Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you’ve been arrested for anything in Milwaukee or the surrounding communities, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 for a free case review right now.