What is the Miranda Warning?

When someone is arrested, they are supposed to be “Mirandized.” This means that the police must read then the Miranda Warning, which goes as follows:

“You have the right to remain silent. 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. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

It is very important for the person who is read these rights to give a clear, affirmative answer to the question that ends the Miranda Rights.

If the suspect initially moves forward with speaking with the officer, and then suddenly does not wish to anymore, all they need to do is say so, and the interrogation will have to stop. They can wait for an attorney before answering any further questions. This is generally known as “pleading the fifth” because any further questioning can lead the suspect digging themselves into a hole that may be hard to get out of later on in court.

It is important to note that arrests can be made without the Miranda Warning. The Miranda Warning is only issued if and when the police intend to interrogate them.