Miranda rights are as much of a part of our criminal justice system as the notion of “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.” Without Miranda rights, citizens could be unlawfully accused of crimes due to self-incriminating statements. And sometimes self-incrimination is simply a defense mechanism citizens use to try to comply with the threat of law enforcement.

But thanks to a now famous Supreme Court case from 1966, Miranda v. Arizona has forever changed the way police officers arrest citizens. Once placing a person into custody, police must read everyone their Miranda rights, which are part of the Fifth Amendment. Under the Fifth Amendment, everyone has the right not make any statements that may make him or her a perpetrator of a crime.

So, what are the Miranda rights? You've probably heard them on TV shows and movies, but police must read this paragraph before placing a person in police custody: you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

Police custody usually involves handcuffing or physically restraining a person so that they cannot run away. You are also considered to be in police custody when you are brought back to a police station for fingerprinting and booking or when a person would believe they are not free to leave.

The responsibilities of police officers

If you were arrested for OUI, you should let your attorney immediately know if police did not read you your Miranda rights. Any statements that you made that were self-incriminating can be thrown out of  court. Let's say for example you were arrested for OUI, but police did not remind you of your right to remain silent during questioning. When they asked you how much you had to drink or where you were drinking, those answers may have been obtained illegally if you were not read your rights.