As a citizen or legal resident of the United States, your Miranda rights are some of the most important rights you possess. Therefore, you would do well to memorize them so you will remember them if and when the need arises.
MirandaWarning.org explains that these rights take four forms as follows:
1. You have the right to remain silent.
2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
3. You have the right to an attorney.
4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
Your Miranda rights came into being via the U.S. Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona. The justices went on to rule that that these rights apply any time that law enforcement officers arrest you.
Regardless of the fact that your Miranda rights, as such, apply only at and after your arrest, you can nevertheless assert them any time that officers attempt to question you, even before your arrest. The reason is that these rights did not magically appear in the Miranda v. Arizona decision. The justices delineated them from the following three constitutional rights that you have at all times:
• Your Fourth Amendment right to remain free from unreasonable governmental searches and seizures, including the unreasonable seizure of your person, i.e., arrest
• Your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination
• Your Sixth Amendment right to an attorney any time you face the possibility of criminal prosecution.
Consequently, other than having to produce identification if and when requested by law enforcement officers, you have no further obligation to answer any of their questions. If you ask for an attorney, officers must abide by your request and cease questioning you until your attorney or a public defender arrives to represent you.