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What are my Miranda rights?

Miranda rights are a part of our culture. We see police officers and detectives read them off in popular shows like Law and Order, and many of us can recite these rights from memory. We know that the police could use anything we say against us in a court of law — but seeing the use of these rights on television versus living them are two very different things. Not every show gets the application right and knowing how these rights impact your case is important.

What are my Miranda rights when arrested in Kentucky?

The term “Miranda warning” refers to a constitutional requirement that police must give certain warnings to detained individuals. These rights are a result of the Supreme Court decision issued in Miranda v. Arizona. In this case, the Supreme Court held that the police cannot question a defendant until that defendant knows their rights. The court explained that these rights were inadmissible under the Fifth Amendment self-incrimination clause and the Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel. These rights include:

  • The right to remain silent
  • Consult with an attorney and have the attorney present during questioning and
  • The right to have an attorney appointed if the defendant cannot afford one

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky also supports these rights. But when exactly are these rights triggered? These rights are present when we meet two conditions. First, we are in custody. Second, we are about to get interrogated or questioned.

Do I have the right to remain silent when arrested?

You pretty much always have a right to remain silent. The law does require you to provide your name if a police officer asks for it, but you can generally choose to be silent for any other questions the police may ask. However, it is a good idea to let the officers know if you chose to exercise this right. You could say something along the lines of “I am exercising my right to remain silent.” If not, the police could take your silence as an acceptance of guilt.

Do the police have to read me my Miranda rights?

If you are in custody, yes. Unfortunately, when you are officially in custody, it is not always clear. Some examples of custody can include questioning that occurs at a police station or when you are otherwise restrained from freely leaving the situation. However, Miranda rights may not apply in situations where you are free to leave or if the police state that you are not under arrest. This can include traffic stops. As such, answers given during a traffic stop or other situations where you are not officially in custody could potentially be used in court.

This distinction is important because it can have a huge impact on a case. A court will generally not allow any statements gathered while in custody if the police failed to first provide the Miranda rights. As such, police must give the Miranda warning before they start their custodial interrogation or questions.

It is also important to note that these rights are not automatic. They are part of a defense strategy to get charges reduced or dismissed. You may need to file a motion to suppress evidence or statements that are obtained in violation of these rights.