Monday, March 18, 2013

Miranda Rights (Explained)

As a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney I get a lot of questions --- one of the biggest is about the Miranda Rights.  Here's a short-hand answer for you about your rights.  

"Miranda Rights" refer to some of the rights that are contained in the 5th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

The 5th Amendment says:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. 

When and How Can You Use Your Miranda Rights? 

In order for your Miranda Rights to "attach" - that is, to be applicable in your situation, three things must have happened: You must be in custody, police must be interrogating you, and you must have asserted your Miranda Rights. The first two conditions are known as custodial interrogation. 

The US Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona defined custodial interrogation as "questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way." 

In essence, police will have made you feel like you were not free to go - either by arresting you, by holding you in custody, or by significantly depriving you of your freedom of action; they will read your Miranda Rights to you; they will ask you if you wish to talk to them and thereby waive your rights; and you can choose to assert your rights at that time, or to waive your rights and talk to them. Remember, the keys are that you do not feel free to leave and the police are doing the questioning. The last element, that you have asserted your Miranda Rights, is the element that is up to you: You must assert your rights clearly and verbally. 

A good way to make sure you exercise your Miranda Rights  is to go through this list: 

  • Is there police custody (am I not free to leave)?
  • Is there interrogation (am I being asked questions, instead of initiating)?
  • Was a Miranda Warning read before questioning began and after custody was established?
  • Was there a waiver of Miranda Rights?
  • Was there an explicit assertion of Miranda Rights - either to remain silent, consult with a Minnesota DUI lawyer or both?
  • If there was a waiver and then an assertion later on, did questioning stop immediately?
  • Were any statements made after Miranda Rights were asserted and police stopped questioning?
  • Did any questioning happened after a lawyer was requested that was outside the presence of the lawyer? 
The most important things you can do to protect your rights are:
  • Assert your right to remain silent IMMEDIATELY
  • Contact a Minnesota DUI lawyer as soon as you can
  • Do not say anything more once you have asserted your rights
  • And, be cooperative and polite throughout your encounters with police.

If you have questions about your rights, call the Rolloff Law Office for a FREE CONSULTATION: (612) 234-1165.  


  1. This is very good information.i think it's useful advice. really nice blog. keep it up!!!

    boston criminal attorney

  2. It's good to know that if I need a Minnesota criminal defense attorney I won't have to depend on them completely to understand the ins and outs of my rights. Thanks for the post!

  3. These lawyers will gaze at all past events that rotate around the lawless person ascribe. They will gaze at the inquiry, why the one-by-one or business was apprehended, and all details surrounding the arrest.
    Personal Injury Attorney Las Vegas