You must clearly express your intent to exercise your Miranda rights. You must clearly inform law enforcement that you wish to remain silent and have an attorney present during any interrogation. In 2010, the Supreme Court decided that staying silent was not enough, you must clearly state your intent to exercise your Miranda Rights. Berghuis v. Thompkins.
Miranda warnings only apply when you are in police custody, this could be anywhere, not necessarily in jail. Miranda warnings do not apply when you are simply having a conversation with a police officer. If you are not in custody, no warnings are required and anything you say can be used against you. If you are not sure, you can always ask if you are free to leave.
The State can only use statements you made, while in police custody, if your Miranda rights were clearly articulated to you and understood by you. Miranda Rights are not required in every arrest situation. For example, if you were arrested and never questioned while in custody, Miranda rights would not be necessary. They have impact only when the State tries to use statements you made against you.
- The ACLU gives some great tips and advice if you are ever confronted by law enforcement.
- The US Courts site gives a good summary of the Supreme Court Case Miranda v. Arizona, which created the Miranda Rights.
* Nothing contained in this page is intended to be legal advice.
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