What Are My Rights If I’m Arrested?

Getting arrested can be a terrifying and stressful experience. If you are arrested it is important to understand your rights. The arresting officer must read your rights, often called Miranda warnings. Failure to read your rights won’t automatically eliminate your case but it can have an impact on the evidence that is allowed in court. If you’ve been arrested you will have the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to a speedy trial.

Miranda Warnings

If you’re being put under arrest you will be read your rights. It is important to understand:

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • You have the right to an attorney
  • If you can’t afford an attorney one will be appointed
  • Anything you say can be used against you in court
  • If you talk to police you have the right to stop the interview at any time

When these warnings aren’t given to you it is possible that some of the evidence against you may not be allowed. However, if you weren’t read your rights but no questioning occurred there is little or no impact on your case. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney before speaking with police.

How to Assert Your Rights

Once you’re under arrest you can choose to speak to law enforcement a much or as little as you like. It is generally best to assert your right to remain silent until you meet with a lawyer. To assert your right to remain silent you can simply inform the police that you refuse to speak with them and tell them you wish to consult with an attorney. If you have asserted your rights and law enforcement officials continue to question you, your Miranda rights have been violated. As such, anything you say after that point cannot be used as evidence in the case.

What If I’m Questioned Before an Arrest?

Your Miranda rights apply to those who are being held in custody. Therefore, any immediate questions and responses, such as general on-the-scene questioning, can be used in court. Even though you aren’t yet in custody it is essential to be aware of the questions and responses to law enforcement. Sometimes even seemingly innocuous answers can come back to hurt you later on. For this reason it is always best to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.