Miranda Rights

5th Amendment Definition

The 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that an individual cannot be forced in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. You have the right to remain silent when questioned by law enforcement. This right to remain silent may be exercised at any time when your answer to any question in any circumstance may potentially incriminate you in a criminal proceeding.

What are Miranda Rights

In the United State's Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona the Supreme Court set forth an additional protection for individuals arrested for a criminal offense. This protection is commonly referred to as the "Miranda warning." This warning must be given by law enforcement prior to interrogating a suspect after they have taken him/her into custody. It warns the individual prior to questioning that anything they say in response to questioning by the police can and will be used against them in the criminal prosecution and that they are further entitled to the assistance of an attorney and to have the attorney present during any questioning.

This warning does not have to be read to all individuals who are arrested and law enforcement's failure to read this advisory does not automatically result in dismissal of the charge(s). If the court finds that this rule has been violated, the statements obtained during the questioning are merely held to be inadmissible during the State's case in chief. If the defendant takes the stand and testifies, these statements under the proper circumstances may be used by the prosecutor to impeach the defendant.

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