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In 2012, the movie “21 Jump Street” was released as a sort of winking joke about the 1987 television show of the same name. It was hailed as a comedic gem, but there was a recurring joke that many criminal defense attorneys won’t find too funny. One of the characters couldn’t remember how to recite the Miranda rights to people he was about to arrest. This eventually cost him one of the cases he was pursuing.

What’s bothersome about this is that it implies that Miranda rights are unimportant — that they can be laughed and joked about in the movies, and that people will think nothing of these rights other than they are a punch line. To the contrary, Miranda rights are vital to the criminal system, and they are obviously very important to the people being accused of a crime.

What these rights say is very clear:

  • You have the right to remain silent, which is crucial. You don’t have to say anything to the police because, as the Miranda rights saying goes…
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to an attorney, and every person accused of a crime should invoke their right to remain silent and contact or get an attorney immediately after being accused of a crime.
  • If you can’t afford an attorney or get one, then an attorney will be appointed for you.

These rights must be told to you by a police officer. If they fail to inform you of their rights, it can complicate the proceeding against you — more specifically, anything you say to the police is inadmissible in court.

Source: FindLaw, “‘Miranda’ Rights and the Fifth Amendment,” Accessed Feb. 12, 2015