When a Tennessee citizen is arrested police will usually read them their “Miranda rights” before the questions begin. Most people have a general idea of the wording of the Miranda warning, as it is frequently used in movies and television shows. A criminal record can have serious long-term consequences, so it is important to know whether police have followed all appropriate legal procedures. But what are Miranda rights?

Miranda rights protect a defendant by requiring police to tell them four things before questioning can begin. The first is that they have the right to remain silent; the second is that anything they say can be used against them in court; the third is they have a right to an attorney; and the fourth is that if they can’t afford an attorney one will be provided for them.

If police do not warn a suspect of their Miranda rights, the judge may rule that anything the defendant said to police – including a confession – may not be used in court. And if any evidence is discovered during the questioning, that may also be ruled inadmissible in court. In order for a judge to make such a ruling, however, the issue must generally be raised by the defense.

If a defendant believes that police did not follow proper procedure, he or she may want to discuss these concerns with a criminal defense lawyer. An attorney can make sure the client’s rights are being honored and that he or she receives an aggressive and skilled defense.

Source: criminal.findlaw.com, “‘Miranda Rights’ and the Fifth Amendment“, accessed on Nov. 28, 2015