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What Are Your Rights After an Arrest?

If you're a fan of police dramas, you're likely familiar with the Miranda Rights which are read to people upon arrest. However, while the refrain, "You have the right to remain silent" sounds familiar, do you fully understand your rights? Let's take a look at the Miranda Rights and what they mean to you.

According to MirandaRights.org, an arresting officer reads the following rights (or some variation of these words): "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you."

You have the right to remain silent.

This means that you don't have to answer any questions after being read your rights. Before being read your rights, a police officer may question you. You do not have Miranda Rights yet because you haven't been arrested and read your rights. However, the officer should inform you that answering questions is voluntary. Your answers could be admissible in court. If you decide to waive your right to remain silent or voluntarily answer pre-arrest questions, keep in mind the next statement.

Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

In addition, silence before you've been read your rights could also be used against you. For example, police may testify that you were uncooperative or that your failure to proclaim your innocence or explain your alibi is suspicious.

If you've chosen to remain silent but then have had a change of heart and are cooperating with police, you can decide to stop at any time.

Here's another scenario where you might inadvertently incriminate yourself: If you've been arrested but have not been read your Miranda Rights, voluntary or spontaneous statements can be used against you.

You have a right to an attorney.

This right allows you to consult with your attorney before answering any questions or have your attorney present during questioning. You also have the right to call your attorney (as well as a friend, family member, or bondsman) as soon as possible after being booked into the police station.

If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

Not everyone has the resources to hire their own private criminal lawyers. If you lack the resources for an attorney, a court-appointed one will represent you.

Knowing and understanding your Miranda Rights beforehand can help you avoid making self-incriminating statements. If you decide that it's best to remain silent before or after an arrest, tell the police officer that your lawyer has told you to speak to him before answering any questions from law enforcement. This statement is reasonable and less suspicious than refusing to cooperate.

Make sure that your rights are fully protected by calling us immediately after an arrest.