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What are Miranda Rights and the Fifth Amendment?

If you're accused of a crime or are going to be arrested, it's important to know your Miranda rights and the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. What are these rights granted to you?

Miranda Rights came into law in 1966 when a court case led to the conclusion that whenever someone is arrested or taken into police custody, they need to be told of their Fifth Amendment rights. The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to say nothing that would incriminate you.

You deserve to have your Miranda rights read to you before you're questioned. Not doing so is a breach of the law and can hurt the authorities' case against you. The four things you should be told are that you're able to stay silent according to law, that if you speak, anything you say can be used against you, that you can call or obtain an attorney, and that if you can't afford one, an attorney can be appointed for you.

These pieces of information are vital to your situation. If the police don't read your Miranda rights, any statement or confession you give won't be able to be used against you in court. Instead, the information you give will be considered involuntary. Any evidence produced as a result of your confession or statement may also be thrown out of the case, damaging the authorities' ability to charge or convict you.

For example, imagine a case where you're not read your rights and think you have to answer police. If they ask if you deal drugs and you admit it, telling them where you stashed them, then the police could find those items. However, if you go to court and claim the police didn't read your rights, then the evidence and your confession will likely be thrown out and unusable.

Source: FindLaw, ""Miranda" Rights and the Fifth Amendment," accessed Dec. 16, 2015

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