Arrested: Your Miranda Rights Explained


Area of Law: 

Police officers are required to quote Miranda Rights to every person who is arrested in this country. It is the intention of authorities to provide this information to anyone who is arrested and to make sure the recipient knows and understands his rights within the law. 

The oral discourse of this information was deemed necessary by the Supreme Court as the result of a case brought about by a convicted felon named Ernesto Miranda and the resulting decision in 1966. Miranda, who had previously been convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping and rape alleged that he was not told he had the right to refuse to answer questions put forth by the law enforcement officers concerning his charges nor to have an attorney present when they questioned him. The Supreme Court agreed with him and dismissed his conviction. 

The Miranda rights say simply, “You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”

The orating of these rights, as mandated by the court, is a reiteration of the 5th Amendment to the Constitution which states that a person has the right to refuse to answer self-incriminating questions. When a witness “pleads the 5th” that is in essence what he is doing, relying of the 5th amendment rights of not incriminating oneself.

It should be noted that any statements made by the perpetrator prior to his actual arrest are completely admissible in court. And, if statements made after the offender has “waived his rights” or admitted that he understands those rights, those statements can also be deemed as admissible. 

Sadly, fear can become the controlling factor in an arrest. The person who is arrested may fear incarceration, he may fear prosecution, or he may fear the officers. When fear controls the situation, many statements can be made in an attempt to avoid an outcome that the statements actually insure.

Sometimes these rights are abused and at other times they are misquoted, but it is the court that must decide if any person who has been arrested has had his rights violated. One segment of the Miranda oratory can be misquoted and in some cases misunderstood. The accused has the right to have an attorney present when questioned. The phrase, “If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you,” implies that there will be no charge for the attorney’s time or efforts.

According to experts at, depending on the state of residence of the offender and the requirements of the court thereof, the defendant may have to pay a fee. These fees are usually nominal and are used to offset the costs of the local court system.

A person should always be made aware of his rights under the law. Police officers are required to do so. However, being advised of one’s 5th Amendment rights may not be the saving grace for which some hope. Ernesto Miranda, as an example, was retried, without his “ill-gotten confession,” and was convicted all over again.