In Miranda v. Arizona (1966), the United States Supreme Court ruled that detained criminal suspects must be informed, prior to questioning by police, of their constitutional right to an attorney and against self-incrimination.

These rights come from the Constitution's Fifth Amendment, which gives a criminal suspect the right to refuse "to be a witness against himself," and Sixth Amendment, which guarantees criminal defendants the right to an attorney.

Without the protections of these two fundamental rights, "no statement obtained from the defendant can truly be the product of his free choice," ruled the Court.

Miranda Rights

Before a law enforcement officer may question you regarding the possible commission of a crime, he or she must read you your Miranda Rights and ask if you understand these rights.

  1. You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. Do you understand?
  2. Anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand?
  3. 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. Do you understand?
  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. Do you understand?
  5. 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. Do you understand?
  6. Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?