Any time a Mississippi law enforcement officer attempts to question you about anything, your Miranda rights come into play. This set of rights serves as your first line of defense against finding yourself in a situation where you inadvertently say something to the officer that can, and often does, get you into trouble later.
Most people think that they must answer any question a law enforcement officer asks them. This, however, is not true. In fact, as Findlaw explains, you always have the right to respectfully refuse to answer an officer’s questions until after you have spoken with an attorney.
Your four basic Miranda rights
You have the following four Miranda rights:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to an attorney.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
The problem, however, is that officers need not advise you of these rights unless and until they arrest you. When the U.S. Supreme Court set forth these rights in the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona, it gave officers this loophole.
Nevertheless, regardless of whether or not officers actually advise you of your Miranda rights, you always have them. Why? Because they flow from the following Constitutional rights that you have at all times:
- Your right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by governmental officials as set forth in the Fourth Amendment
- Your right not to incriminate yourself as set forth in the Fifth Amendment
- Your right to avail yourself of the assistance of an attorney whenever you are in danger of having criminal charges brought against you as set forth in the Sixth Amendment.
This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.