If you have ever watched a crime movie or TV show, you have heard it. If you have ever been arrested in Greenville, the officer said it to you — or else they should have.
It’s the Miranda warning. Though the exact wording differs from state to state, it always advises the arrested person of their right to remain silent and their right to have a defense attorney present during interrogations. The warning also states that if the suspect cannot afford to pay an attorney, they will be appointed one to represent them.
When did the law start requiring Miranda warnings?
The Supreme Court has required state, local and federal law enforcement officers to give Miranda warnings to people they arrest since 1966, when it issued a ruling in the case Miranda v. Arizona. In its ruling, the Court found that individual rights contained in the Bill of Rights — specifically, the right against self-incrimination and the right to counsel — cannot be enforced by an arrested person if they do not know they have those rights. Thus, to ensure those rights actually exist, the Court said that police must advise a suspect that they do not have to answer questions and they can have a lawyer present. This warning must be given before questioning, or else any statements the suspect makes will be inadmissible as evidence.
Help standing up for your rights
No matter how well you know your civil rights, or if you have been through the criminal justice system before, you are entitled to receive a Miranda warning. If nobody read you your rights before attempting to interrogate you, you should let your defense lawyer know as soon as possible. Your rights only exist as long as you stand up for them.