“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you can or do may be used against you in a court of law…”
Anyone who watches television or crime movies is likely familiar with this saying.
For most people, thoroughly understanding what these “Miranda rights,” as they are called, mean is difficult.
For individuals whose first language is not English, it’s even harder to understand the meaning behind these rights.
Here’s a basic breakdown of the Miranda rights and what you should know about each.
“You have the right to remain silent.”
Some police officers often try to get suspects to make statements or admissions by pressuring them into talking. Even though suspects have the right to not speak, officer may make it seem as if suspects must say something.
“Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
If you do decide to speak, your statements could be taken out of context or misrepresented by the arresting officers. Be very careful what you say no matter what it is.
“You have the right to an attorney.”
In many countries, people do not have this right. It’s important for suspects to understand that, in America, they can wait to make a statement to police until they have legal representation by their side.
“If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”
This means representation will be free, as in “no charge,” if a person cannot afford a lawyer. Many people misinterpret this translation to mean “unavailable.”
A lawyer to help you
If these rights are not translated properly, a non-English speaking person can easily make incriminating statements without even realizing it. They can even waive their rights without knowing it.
If someone you know who has difficulty understanding English and has been arrested or spoken to by the police, talk to a lawyer right away. A criminal defense attorney can make sure your rights were protected and police followed proper procedure.