Your so-called Miranda rights are among the most well-known and yet underutilized rights available to anyone facing arrest or criminal charges in the United States. These rights have become well-known in part because they often play a role in television shows that focus on law enforcement or court proceedings.

Actually knowing what rights you have and when officers must inform you of them can go a long way toward protecting you if you wind up arrested for any reason. Many  people who think police violated their Miranda rights feel shocked when they learn that isn’t true in their case. Other people may be able to use a violation of their rights as part of their criminal defense strategy.

Despite what you see on TV, you don’t receive your Miranda warning upon arrest

It is very common for television shows and movies to depicts officers reciting the Miranda warning to people as they put them in handcuffs or place them in the backseat of a police vehicle. While officers can and sometimes do give a person under arrest their Miranda warning at the time of arrest, they are under no obligation to do so at that exact moment.

Confusion about that issue often leads people to assume that police violated their rights. You only have to hear the Miranda warning in the event that police question you after they arrest you. They do not have to advise you of your Miranda rights during informal questioning prior to your arrest or at the time of your arrest until they attempt to interrogate you.

At the time that they initiate questioning, an officer should advise you of your Miranda rights, which include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, regardless of whether you can pay for one yourself. Knowing these rights can help you better stand up for yourself and avoid making mistakes that could result in an unnecessary conviction.