The Miranda rule is one followed by police officers wherein they inform a person under their custody of his right to be silent during interrogation. It is one of the rules of criminal procedure that law enforcement officers are required to do in order to protect a person from making self-incriminating statements. The Miranda rule contains the Miranda rights, the fundamental rights of a person under custody.
Whenever a person is accused of a criminal offense, law enforcement officers will try to make him say everything that he knows about it. Worse, they may even torture him so that he will admit his guilt. If he finally speaks, his statements can be used against him and these can be admitted as evidence in a case to prove his guilt. The United States Supreme Court said in the case of Miranda vs. Arizona that with the Miranda rights, the prosecution cannot use as evidence the statements made by a person when he is being asked by a law enforcement officer, unless safeguards are used to protect his right against self-incrimination.
The wording of the Miranda rights depends on every country. Substantially, these rights mention the following:
- The accused has the right to remain silent
Whenever a person is interrogated, he has the right to remain silent. This is because any statement that he makes can be admitted as evidence in a court of law. This is also to prevent the violation of his right against self-incrimination.
- Anything he says can and will be used against him in a court of law
This must always be said to a person under custody so that he will be careful in making disclosures. The rule does not tolerate lying on his part. It is to ensure that he is granted his rights so that he cannot assert later on that he was not given the due process of law.
- He has the right to get the assistance of a lawyer and have him present while he is being interrogated
Because criminal procedure is a very complicated topic that only lawyers can fully understand, a person under custody must always be assisted by a lawyer before the questioning starts. This is to ensure that every statement that he makes is privileged.
- If he cannot afford to get a lawyer, the government will give him one
If a person under custody cannot hire the services of a private lawyer, the government will give him one. However, being a constitutionally granted right, he may opt not to get the assistance of a lawyer should he wish. He cannot, however, say later on that he was not given a lawyer to assist him.
- He can decide at any time when to exercise these rights
As such, he can decide on when to answer the questions or make any statements pertaining to the criminal charge.
Every person must know the Miranda rights. These are the procedural safeguards that are required by criminal procedure to avoid violating the fundamental rights of a person under the custody of law enforcement officers.