If officers suspect you have committed some type of crime, there is a good chance they want to talk to you. To arrange a meeting, they may either put you in handcuffs or ask you to come to the police station for an interview.
You may have seen television cop shows where actors give suspects the Miranda warning. You may not realize, however, officers do not always have to advise you of your legal rights.
What is the Miranda warning?
Named for a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case, the Miranda warning informs you of your fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution in a way that is easy to comprehend. The Miranda warning covers the following topics:
- Your right to remain silent
- Your right to have an attorney present during most parts of the criminal justice process
- The consequences of talking to officers
- A provision for obtaining legal counsel if you cannot afford a lawyer
When must officers advise you of your rights?
Officers only must advise you of your legal rights when you are in police custody. Sometimes, it is not difficult to know when officers have taken you into custody, as they may place handcuffs on your wrists or sit you in the back of a squad car.
You are in police custody any time you are not free to leave, so you may want to ask officers whether you can leave voluntarily. Ultimately, invoking your Miranda rights any time you are in police custody may be one of the more effective ways not to incriminate yourself.