This guide explains the history and substance of your right to remain silent when questioned by law enforcement.
"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law." You've more than likely heard this statement, known as the Miranda warning, countless times in courtroom dramas, reality shows, and popular cop movies, but what does it mean exactly? How did we get that right and how do we invoke it?
History of the Right to Remain Silent
The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that American citizens have the right to not incriminate themselves when accused of a crime. This is where the phrase "pleading the Fifth" originated. The 1966 Supreme Court ruling Miranda v. Arizona resulted in the Miranda warning, also known as Miranda rights.
When Must the Police Advise You of Your Right to Remain Silent?
The police are required to advise you of your Miranda rights, including the your right to remain silent, when the following two conditions are met: (1) You must be in police custody or placed under arrest and (2) the police must be questioning or interrogating you for the purpose of prosecuting you for a crime.
Exceptions to Miranda
There are at least three general exceptions to the rule that requires the police to advise an individual of his or her Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent: (1) Public Safety: Under the public safety exception, Miranda warnings are not required when there is an objectively reasonable need to protect the police and/or the public from immediate danger. (2) Routine Booking Questions: Under the routine booking questions exception, Miranda warnings are not required before asking a suspect in custody routine booking questions (for example, the person's name, address, date of birth, and other biographical data necessary to complete the booking process). (3) Undercover Police Activities: Under the undercover police activities exception, Miranda warnings are not required if the individual being questioned is unaware that the interrogator is an undercover police officer.
How Does Miranda Apply to Minors?
Minors have the same rights as any other U.S. citizen and must be advised of their Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent, just like adults.
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