Now that you live in the United States, you have some rights of which you may not be aware. Perhaps one of the most important is your right to the Miranda warning any time law enforcement officers arrest you and attempt to question you.
If you have never heard of Miranda, this is a 4-part statement as follows:
- 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.
Per MirandaWarning.org, these rights apply to non-citizens living in the U.S. just the same as to full-fledged citizens.
Back in 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court set forth the Miranda rights in its Miranda v. Arizona opinion, holding that law enforcement officers must inform people of them whenever they make an arrest.
Say, for example, that a law enforcement officer arrests you for allegedly driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Must you answer his or her questions? While you must produce identification when requested to do so, you need not answer any further questions.
Not only must the officer “read you your rights” when he or she arrests you, but you must be able to understand them. This means that if you do not understand English well, the officer must provide an interpreter to tell you about these rights in your native language or one in which you have fluency.
Your best interests dictate that you do not talk with any officer before you have a lawyer at your side. If you do, your statements are voluntary and officers can use them against you at your trial.