“You have the right to remain silent” is perhaps the most recognizable phrase in all of law enforcement. It comes from something called The Miranda Rights but what does this actually mean along with the rest of the rights cited and why do they have to recite to everyone who is arrested? Here is an explanation of what it all means and why they are so important.
What the words mean
When you are arrested and they tell you that “you have the right to remain silent” what it actually means is that when asked questions by the officer, or if being interrogated, a citizen that the right to not answer those questions until they have a lawyer present. This is important because if someone feels as though the questions being asked are at all leading and trying to get a certain type of answer out of the person just arrested, the right to remain silent protects them from discussing things in a manner that could hurt their case or portray them in a different light. Following up with that is the phrase, “You have a right to an attorney.” What this means is if when someone gets arrested and they cannot afford to hire a lawyer, the courts will assign them a public defender because by law everyone has the right to representation to share their side in a trial.
Why the Miranda Rights are Important
The Miranda Rights are extremely important because they actually provide protection to both the person being arrested as well as the law enforcement officer. The officer is protected because whether or not the defendant talks with them, they can be sure that you have been made aware of your rights and anything that is discussed can be used in a trial. The defendant is also protected because as we spoke about before, they have the right to speak to the officer or wait until they have a lawyer present so as not to implicate themselves out of nervousness or leading.
Overall, except for in very rare circumstances, the Miranda Rights must always be recited when an arrest occurs and they are done so to let the person being arrested know their basic fundamental rights as a citizen.