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What are Miranda rights or a Miranda warning?

When someone mentions Miranda rights, a Miranda warning or a person being Mirandized, they are talking about the police reading a person his or her rights. These are the rights that many people are familiar with from movies and TV shows: You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and will be used against you; and you have the right to an attorney. The name Miranda comes from the U.S. Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, which determined that people who are in police custody and being interrogated have these rights.

Miranda rights are extremely important — not only knowing that you have them, but also exercising them. If you are arrested, you should remain silent. Do not make any statements to police, except to say that you want to speak to your attorney.

It is also important to understand that police only have to read you your rights if you are in custody and being interrogated. If you are not in custody or police are not interrogating you, then they may choose not to read you your rights. You should still not make any statements to police and you should consult with an attorney.

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