Home > Insights > Legal Tips > What is a Miranda Warning?

What is a Miranda Warning?

by | Jun 1, 2021

Every individual is afforded certain rights under the U.S. Constitution when arrested and taken into police custody. One of the most important requirements that law enforcement must follow is providing a “Miranda Warning.” The name of this notification comes from the critical U.S. Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona, which held that police must advise anyone taken into their custody of their protections against making self-incriminating statements as provided by the Fifth Amendment. The police must also inform anyone taken into custody that they have the right to an attorney.

What are the Warnings?

If police took you into custody, they are permitted by law to ask you certain questions such as your name, date of birth, and address, without having given you the Miranda warning. However, after you’ve been detained — and before questioning begins — the police must inform you that:

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law
  • You have the right to an attorney
  • An attorney can be appointed if you cannot afford one

Although the warning does not need to be said in any particular order, these four rights must be adequately communicated to a person who has been accused and taken into custody. An individual can invoke their right to remain silent by making an unequivocal statement that they are asserting this right. If you do not verbally invoke your Fifth Amendment right, the court may consider any statements made after the Miranda warning has been given to be a waiver of this right.

When Does an Officer Have to Read You Your Rights?

There are many misconceptions concerning precisely when Miranda warnings must be read. While police are often shown on TV and in movies giving an individual their Miranda warnings at the time of arrest, this is not always the point at which the notification must be provided. Importantly, police officers are not required to read you your rights just because you’ve been detained or arrested.

Whether you are in jail, on the street, or at a crime scene, if the police wish to question you when you are in their custody, they must give a full Miranda warning. But if you are not in police custody — meaning, you are otherwise free to leave — the Miranda warning isn’t required. In some cases, the police will question a person before being taken into custody, only to arrest them after obtaining the statements they were seeking.

It’s crucial to understand that regardless of whether you have been given the Miranda warning, you generally don’t have to respond to police questioning before or after you’ve been arrested. In fact, it’s always best to contact a lawyer immediately who can ensure your rights are protected.    

What Happens if You Aren’t Given a Miranda Warning?

If the police officers fail to warn you about your rights prior to engaging in custodial interrogation, any statement or confession you make will be deemed involuntary and cannot be used in the prosecution’s case. In addition, any evidence derived from such a statement will likely be thrown out. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the charges will be dropped and you can avoid punishment. If there is sufficient evidence, apart from the inadmissible statement, the prosecution may still be able to pursue their case.

Contact an Experienced New York Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, it’s vital to contact an attorney who knows how to build a solid strategy and strong defense. The criminal defense attorneys at D’Emilia Law have extensive experience protecting the Constitutional rights of those accused of a wide variety of offenses — and will work to secure the best possible outcome in your case. For a consultation, contact us at 1-888-DEMILIA. 

miranda warning
Field Sobriety Test

Can a Driver Refuse a Field Sobriety Test in New York?

In a case where a driver is suspected of operating their vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a preliminary breath test isn’t the only test a police officer might ask to administer. Part of the arrest process may include conducting field sobriety tests. These types...
Bail Reform

Understanding New York’s Bail Reform Laws

New York’s controversial cashless bail legislation eliminated the use of cash bail for all but the most serious felonies and misdemeanors. The law, which was passed in 2019, has had a sweeping impact on the state’s criminal justice system over the last three years....
Concealed Carry

Understanding the New Concealed Carry Laws 

On September 1, 2022, a new concealed carry law went into effect in New York following the United States Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. Holding that New York’s “proper cause” requirement violated the Second Amendment,...
plea bargain

Plea Bargain Consequences

If you’ve been charged with a crime, the prosecution may offer you a plea deal. Depending on the circumstances, a plea bargain can provide you with specific benefits such as a lesser sentence — and the certainty of knowing what your penalty will be. But no matter how...
Exclusionary Rule

What is the Exclusionary Rule?

In the criminal justice system, specific rules are in place to protect the Constitutional rights of the accused. Courts apply a doctrine known as the "exclusionary rule" to prevent the prosecution from using evidence obtained through illegal search and seizure. Under...
police search home

What You Need To Know If Police Want to Search Your House

If there is a criminal case being built against you, the first place police usually search is your home or residence.  Events like the March 2020 shooting death of Breonna Taylor—an unarmed Kentucky woman killed while in bed—have put the spotlight on law...
police search

Pulled Over In NY? Know 7 Quick Tips About Police Searches

The United States Constitution’s Fourth Amendment guarantees security against unreasonable searches, seizures, and interceptions. In cases where the police have probable cause, they must “describe the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be...

Self-Defense in NY

Understanding how self-defense is governed in New York is critical for residents and visitors. D’Emilia Law has successfully defended against criminal charges of assault, manslaughter, or even murder by demonstrating clients faced immediate danger and had to protect...
D'Emilia - lighting firework

Can You Face Criminal Charges for Fireworks and Quality of Life Offenses?

It is illegal for unlicensed persons or companies to use or set off fireworks in New York. And though New York State allows for the sale and use of a specific category of consumer fireworks known as Sparkling Devices, it is prohibited in several counties — including...
black lives matter protest

Protests & Unmarked Cars: Know Your Rights If Arrested

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. —  Georgia Congressman John Lewis (1940-2020) D’Emilia Law has received criminal defense questions from friends and clients about...