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Without Warning

Updated: Jun 15


Information obtained by the police while questioning suspects in custody may be admitted as evidence at trial only if questioning was preceded by the “Miranda Warning.” This warning informs suspects of their constitutional right to remain silent (fifth amendment) and their right to have a lawyer present during questioning (sixth amendment). Many people mistakenly believe that a case must be thrown out if the police fail to give the Miranda warning to people they arrest. The fact is, however, that failure to give the warning is irrelevant if the suspect is not in custody, the police do not question the suspect, or prosecution does not try to use evidence gained by the police without their having given the warning.

If you are arrested, give only the name, address, and telephone number of you, your immediate family, and your employer. This information is needed in setting bail. Do not speak on videotape or to a district attorney about anything. If you’re arrested with somebody else, don’t talk with them about the incident in the back of the police car: many police cares now make video or audio of such conversations.

HINT: If you are arrested, you may stop all questioning by stating that you “want an attorney present.”

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