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What does the Miranda warning really mean?

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2022 | Criminal Law |

A confrontation by the police may land you in cuffs. You may hear the familiar warning about remaining silent and have the question asked about exerting those rights.

The Miranda warning has remained a hallmark of law enforcement for decades. You may have heard it recited regularly on crime dramas and reality television, but what does it mean for you? Take a closer look at the elements that make up the Miranda warning, so you better understand what they do for you.

What does the Miranda warning do?

When the police stop you, they need a reason for the stop. They need to have witnessed you break the law or have a reasonable suspicion that you did. During the interaction, they glean information from your appearance, movements and speech. When they believe they have enough to justify further action, they place you under arrest.

The police may recite the Miranda warning during the arrest. It gives you the right:

  • To remain silent. You do not need to answer questions that may then come back to hurt your defense.
  • To have a lawyer represent you. This means you do not have to stand on your own in court, and if you do not have the money to retain an attorney, you can get the court to appoint one.
  • To decline further interaction. Once you assert your understanding of the Miranda warning, the police usually ask if you want to continue speaking. You can stop all questioning at this time.

If the police continue to ask you questions after you have expressed your desire to stop, a judge may disregard what you say. A legal representative may help you navigate your case, especially if the police violated your Miranda rights.