Shrek: Donkey, you have the right to remain silent! What you lack is the capacity.
In the United States, the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution provide valuable rights to those arrested or accused of a crime, be you innocent or guilty... provided you remember they exist. Not easy when your hands are in cuffs and your face is being smashed against the trunk of a police cruiser. Until the 1966 Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona, from which the term Miranda Rights got their name, the police were very unlikely to remind you of those rights.
Although the exact wording varies from state to state, it goes something like this:
In some states the following is added:
In fiction, the Miranda Rightsnote are frequent victims of Hollywood Law. Some common deviations from reality:
- In some movies or series, the rights are an inevitable part of every climax. In others, perps never seem to get their Miranda rights read to them when they are arrested. The latter case is actually more realistic: police will only read the Miranda Rights to anyone they want to interrogate, and they'll usually do so just prior to interrogation, rather than as their suspect is being arrested.
- When we see someone Mirandized, fictional officers almost always recite the text from memory, as if they've said the words for years by heart. In reality, while officers certainly do memorize the words over time, they are still required to read the rights from a card, to avoid mistakes that could get the case thrown out. This is because any deviation from the actual rights as printed means the suspect was not properly read their rights. In addition, suspects are required to sign the card, as evidence in case he later denies having been read his rights.
- In fiction, the Mirandizing officer is likely to stop when a jaded criminal mastermind mutters, "Yeah yeah, I know my rights..." In reality, they can't, because the law requires that an officer inform a suspect of their rights, whether they claim to know them or not.
- In fiction, the officer might be tempted to interrupt the reading of rights to suggest an obnoxious suspect really should take advantage of his right to remain silent, or to modify the "if you cannot afford an attorney" with sarcastic references to a wealthy suspect's obvious ability to afford one. In reality, as mentioned above, any deviation from the words written on the card could be used by a defense attorney to claim that their client was not properly read their rights.
- In fiction, sometimes suspects get Off on a Technicality because the arresting officer forgot to read their Miranda Rights. Setting aside how unlikely this would be, this tends to be incorrectly treated as automatically resulting in dismissing the case. It is rarely brought up that this only affects any statements the suspect made under arrest. Any evidence the police had uncovered by unrelated means would still be valid.
The only time in which Miranda can be waived is in cases where "public safety" is under immediate threat and the officer does not have the time or wherewithal to lecture the perp for 30 seconds. The usual example is the hypothetical case where an officer catches a Mad Bomber in a mall and demands to know where he stashed the Time Bomb, but exceptions must be approved on an individual basis. And even if the suspect is not Mirandized prior to interrogation, the evidence gained can still be used by police to justify further action. While they may not be allowed to bring up the interrogation in court, they can bring up the fact they found a bomb and the bomber's fingerprints were all over it.
Even in cases where an illegal interrogation results in a confession or other evidence discovered as a direct result being ruled inadmissible (the so called "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine) there are rare occasions where the police can make the "inevitable discovery" claim, essentially stating that they would have discovered the evidence even without the interrogation ("We would have found evidence of the bomb anyway, since it would have blown up, and an explosion in a mall would certainly have been investigated.")
People aren't always Mirandized upon arrest either; sometimes, the police will arrest a suspect, get him or her into an interrogation room and on camera, and then read his or her rights, to ensure that the suspect's response (usually waiving the rights) is recorded. It used to be accepted procedure in some police departments to interrogate people until they were convinced to confess, and then Mirandize them and have them repeat what they'd said "for the official record;" this is now considered to be coercion (meaning said statements could not be used against people in court).
And obviously, undercover officers do not need to read rights (the police only need to read them to people they're interrogating who have been arrested; if the police are asking questions but the person is free to leave, they do not have to be read their rights).
Incidentally, if you are ever Mirandized, even if you are convinced you've done nothing wrong (in fact, especially if you are convinced you've done nothing wrong), the only words out of your mouth should be "I want a lawyer and will not consider answering questions until I have one." See here for 49 minutes of extremely enlightening and entertaining education on the topic. Seriously, the line of thought which says "Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers" is wrong on more levels than we can count.
- Used in Hyper Police (word for word, insofar as translations go), where Natsuki reads a giant tick his rights (it's that kind of a series). Played for Laughs when she has to read from a card to finish.
- The English dub of the original Tenchi Muyo! series used these as a Lucky Translation for the joke where a panicked Mihoshi, a Space Policewoman, tries reading the giant snake monsters attacking her their rights.
- A variation happens in the first episode of Tenchi Universe where Mihoshi tries to read Ryoko her rights. However, Ryoko destroys the device holding the rights and since Mihoshi isn't the brightest bulb, Ryoko pretty much goes free because just arresting her would violate her rights.
- In the Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth manga, Clem Carmody exercises the right to remain silent when people question him about where he was at the time of the murder. It turns out that he doesn't want to admit that he ordered 200 bentos instead of 20, even though his trying to convince the deliveryman to take the extra bentos back gives Carmody an alibi for the murder and provides crucial evidence.
- Apparently, Superman is expected to read rights to captured villains: failure to do so lets one crook off the hook in Lois & Clark; and in Superman Returns, Lex Luthor implies Superman's failure to read him his Miranda rights (and testify in court) helped him weasel out of two life sentences. So, wait, Superman is a cop?
- Well, your regular officer isn't going to have much luck holding down a man who can shoot laser beams out of his hands without being evaporated.
- In one comic (during the John Byrne years) Superman was deputized as a police officer so Lex Luthor (Corporate Bastard version) could be arrested. Perhaps it stuck?
- There's also Dan Turpin, one of the toughest cops in Metropolis, who never memorized the Miranda speech. He has to read it off a card (which, of course, is generally what real cops do). This is actually a plot point in one story where everyone in Metropolis except Dan got superpowers (because, as it turned out, he didn't want them). At the end of the story, they find the professor responsible. When Dan can't read the card-because he doesn't have his glasses-the professor grabs it out of his hand and starts to read it himself, it says "Mxyzptlk" backwards, and the professor is forced to reveal he's really Mr. Mxyzptlk. Superman switched out the card.
- Hilariously parodied in Spanish comic Pafman, the main characters say the lines "everything you say could be used against you". The bad guy ask what that does mean, so they take the speech balloon that contains this question and smash it in his face.
- Batman '66: Parodied. In Issue #39, the Archer steals police equipment and gives it to criminals. After handcuffing a cop, one of those criminals tells another one to read the cop's wrongs.
- In the "Molly & Poo" arc of Strangers in Paradise, Molly gets Off on a Technicality in spite of overwhelming evidence of her being a murderer (as in, she was found naked and covered in the blood of her dismembered victim holding a cleaver and their heart) because the arresting officers thought the detective handling the case would do that in the precint and the detective thought the arresting officers had already done so.
- Emily, in Misfiled Dreams, already knows her Miranda rights and wants to exercise them. Too bad she's only sixteen.
- In Letting Go the DEA arrest arrest Adam Donner. Looking for any technicality to get away, he says they are required to read him his rights. The lead agent counters he in fact doesn't, because he isn't going to interrogate him. Donner's men will be interrogated, and as such have been read their rights. Donner himself is merely under arrest.
- The MLP Loops: A cop version of Fluttershy recites a deliberately inaccurate version in one Loop - instead of "You have the right to remain silent", it starts with "You have the right to remain adorable". Justified in that a) she was speaking to a talking dog (whom she specifically doesn't intend to question or arrest), and b) she was trying to lighten the mood and calm a scared student after having already arrested the real criminal.
- Personality Conflicts: Detective Park actually uses them against a monster in Fathers and Sons. Warpitor is not impressed:
Detective Park: "Freeze, ugly!" ... "Detective Park, AGPD! You're under arrest for attempted murder! You have the right to remain silent. If you refuse the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law!"Warpitor: "Foolish human!" ... "I am above your petty human laws. And when my Lord Zedd takes over your pathetic world, those laws will cease to exist!"
- WarGames is one of the few times in popular culture that you see law enforcement actually pull out a Miranda card and read the text as someone gets arrested.
- In Exit to Eden a serial perp asks the arresting officers "Hey, what about my rights?" Dan Aykroyd makes a pixie-dust sprinkling gesture over his head while chanting "Miranda Miranda Miranda."
- Played with in Lethal Weapon 3, after a car chase ends with the perp being ejected through the window and knocked unconscious:
Riggs: You have the right to remain unconscious. Anything you say... ain't gonna be much.
- Also played with in Lethal Weapon 4:
Butters: You have the right to remain silent, so shut the fuck up, okay? You have the right to an attorney. If you can't afford an attorney, we'll provide you with the dumbest fucking lawyer on Earth! If you get Johnny Cochran, I'll kill you!
- In Minority Report, when confronting the man who kidnapped and killed his son, the protagonist grapples with the choice of killing him or not. Finally, he makes his intentions clear when he begins reciting the criminal's Miranda rights.
- In Madea Goes to Jail, she is not convicted because the police forgot to Mirandize her
- Marcus starts with the Miranda Warnings in the car chase climax of Bad Boys. But, of course, since the villain is in a another car, it's more of a Pre-Mortem One-Liner.
Marcus: What are you doin'?Mike(grimly): Getting it out of the way.
- Parodied in Undercover Blues.
Jeff Blue: FBI! You're under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right you may talk, sing, dance, impersonate Elvis or anything else you like. You have the right to an attorney. If you're broke and can't afford one, tough shit! Now get in the car you suspected felon you!Mr. Ferderber: Wait, wait. What am I being charged with?Jeff Blue: That's for me to know and you to find out.
- Also parodied in the very obscure slasher film Psycho Cop Returns, by the titular, well... psycho cop.
Joe Vickers: You have the right to remain dead. Anything you say can and will be considered very strange because you're dead. You have the right to an attorney, but it won't do you any good because you're dead. Do you understand these rights that have just been read to you? Are you even listening? It would be a lot easier if you were a little more co-operative!
- Parodied in After the Sunset. FBI agent Lloyd and his nemesis diamond thief Max catch a shark while fishing together. When the shark turns out to be alive, Max gets ready to smash it with a beer crate, when agent Lloyd unloads his revolver into the animal, yelling "YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT" at the top of his lungs.
- Parodied to hell and back in Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment:
Mahoney:You have the right to remain silent. The right to a court-appointed attorney. You have the right to sing the blues. You have the right to cable TV. You have the right to sublet. You have the right to paint the walls. No loud colors.
- Likewise parodied to heck in the 1987 Dragnet movie featuring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks.
Pep Streebeck: You know, Muzz, you have the right to remain silent. If you give up the right to remain silent any thing you s-, you know these words, Muzz! C'mon, sing along![Rapping]Pep Streebeck: Anything-you-say can-and WILL be USED against-you IN a-court of LAW!
- In Showdown in Little Tokyo, Brenden Lee's character uses the Miranda rights as Trash Talk during a fight, capping it with the Premortem One Liner: "You have the right to be dead".
- Nancy Drew references this when she strays onto the set of a cop film set in the '50s, noting that it would be anachronistic for Bruce Willis to read the rights. Bruce takes this in stride. The director does not. She does not, however, give the correct date.
- In Running Scared (1986), Billy Crystal plays a Chicago cop. In one scene, he's trying to arrest a crook who is holding a hostage at gunpoint. Crystal's character aims at the crook's head and recites, "You have the right to remain dead. Anything you do will be used against you. You have the right to a coroner. If you cannot afford one, we will appoint a medical examiner for you." (the bad guy surrenders.)
- Fatal Instinct. Ned Ravine reads then to a bank robber-off Cue Cards held up by his partner.
- In Inspector Gadget, Gadget's hat includes a scrolling marquee that displays the Miranda rights during an attempted arrest.
- The plot of the 2012 21 Jump Street film is kicked off with a rookie cop failing to properly Mirandize a criminal, with all charges dropped as a result (He he only knew the first line from its use as a stock phrase)note . At the end of the film, however, he and his partner have studied it over and are able to shout the rights in their entirety to the villain in unison.
- RoboCop (1987): When arresting The Dragon, Murphy reads him his rights while slamming him around the room, throwing him through glass and almost crushing his head.
- At the end of The Shawshank Redemption, a police officer reads the Miranda Rights off an actual card as Hadley is arrested. Instead of being a case of Shown Their Work however, the card is there to indicate that Miranda Rights are still new, so the officer in question hasn't memorized them yet.
- Parodied in Garfield: A Tale Of Two Kitties.
Garfield: YOU HEAR ME, WARDEN?! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT! ANYTHING I SAY CAN AND WILL BE HELD AGAINST ME IN A COURT OF LAW! AND I HAVE THE RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY TOO, PAL! AND IF I CAN'T AFFORD ONE, ONE MUST BE PROVIDED FOR ME BY THE COURT! (He shakes the cage door very hard, causing it to swing open with him on it) NEVER MIND! I just broke out!
- Parodied in ''The Other Guys:
(Gamble slapping cuffs on Ershon.)Gamble: Excuse me, but you're under arrest okay? You have the right to remain silent, any thing you do or say can be used.. umm...(Turns to Hoitz)Gamble: What's the next part?Hoitz: As a flotation device ..Gamble: As a flotation device... (pause) Ohh.. you know what? That's very funny.. I've NEVER mirandized someone before..Ershon: Are you guys for real? Am I being Punked?
- Referenced and mocked in Red Heat, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold's Soviet cop has to have Miranda explained to him. Later on when he's harassed by a street hustler, he asks:
Arnold: Do you know Miranda?
Hustler: Never heard of the bitch!
(Arnold punches the hustler unconscious)
- In Fletch, Fletch gets arrested by a pair of Dirty Cops who flagrantly and smugly plant drug evidence on him just to be jerks about it. Fletch snarks that they should at least read him his rights.
Dirty Cop 1: You have the right to have your face kicked in by me. You have the right to get your balls stomped by him.Dirty Cop 2: [blows Fletch a kiss]Fletch: I'll waive my rights.
- Captain America: Civil War: While fighting Falcon, Spider-Man tries to read Falcon his rights. Falcon throws him through a window.
Falcon: Are you new at this whole fighting thing? There is usually not this much talking!
- A Scanner Darkly. Freck is pulled over by a police officer who cuffs him and starts reading Freck his rights but has trouble remembering them, then just loses patience and blows Freck's head off. Fortunately it turns out to be a paranoid drug-induced hallucination.
- Men in Black: The novelizations of the first two films include one scene each where James Edwards (or Agent Jay) does a version of this - justified in that he's an officer of the NYPD when introduced. In the first, Kay shoots Jeebs' head, and Edwards (who has not yet joined the MIB and become Agent Jay) yells at him to drop his gun and "Don't make me shoot you" before Jeebs gets up as his head grows back. The novel expands this by having Edward start to Mirandize Kay, but get interrupted partway through when Kay tells him to lighten up, right before Jeebs revives.
Edwards: "Read my lips, asshole. You are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will no doubt be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one-"
Agent Jay: "You have the right to remain ugly. You have the right to have your squirmy, extraterrestrial butt put in a sling for whiplashing me into that fruit stand and getting mashed banana all over my shirt. With the full powers vested in me as an agent of MIB, I hereby place you under arrest. Now pull your wiggly-ass self over!"
- The sequel has Jay doing a variation to Jeffrey, the giant worm, during its rampage through the subway:
- Patriots Day Averted in the movie and in real life. Katherine Russell Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were questioned without being read their rights under the "public safety exemption" to Miranda. In fact when the orders came in to not read Katherine her rights the police who heard that order was trying to figure out who had the authority to give that order.
Katherine: "I have rights." Veronica: "You ain't got shit sweetheart."
- Brought up again soon afterwords when Katherine tried to lawyer up and the interrogator said no.
- There's a moment in Hannibal where Barney is about to provide Clarice with some information about Lector, but in so doing he'll be confessing to a crime (selling Lector memorabilia.) He asks Clarice to "agree for the record" that she has not read him his rights, so that if she was wearing a wire his confession would be inadmissible. Then he has her repeat the admission into her handbag for good measure.
- Spoofed in Incompetence, the comedy novel by Rob Grant, where the caution takes up an entire chapter and basically amounts to "anything you say (or don't say) means you're both guilty and fully understand your rights". There's also a simplified version, for suspects who don't understand the full version:
"You don't have to say anything, but if you don't, bad things will happen to you. You can ask for a lawyer, but if you do, bad things will happen to you. Do you understand, or shall I read the full version again?"
- In the universe of Snow Crash, the warnings have become incredibly wordy and trilingual, presumably as lawsuit-retardant; one cop translates the legalese back into straightforward, probably for his own amusement. "Any bodily motions not authorised or approved by us may result in responses up to and including lethal force..." "Or as we used to say, 'Freeze, Sucker!'"
- In The Hollows novel For a Few Demons More, Rachel arrests Trent at his wedding and delivers an over-the-top sarcastic Miranda warning, including stating, "If you can't afford one, hell has frozen over and I'm the princess of Oz."
- The Star Trek novel Crisis on Centaurus has Kirk fleeing local forces with an unconscious Sulu, an old lawyer friend, and his terrorist clients who'd rather be in Federation custody to escape the death penalty, and arrests them during the flight with an abbreviated version of Miranda: "You have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. You already have a lawyer so I won't go into that part. You have a phone call coming. Want to make it?" (They don't.) Accuracy aside, it's a good moment of comic relief in a tense sequence.
- In The Dresden Files, Karrin Murphy gets a couple of these in, usually alternating between reading the rights and continuing the conversation. The first was doing the speech to Dresden himself, in the middle of a crisis with a raging loup-garou. She pauses in between sentences to berate Dresden for being an asshole. In the second, she's arresting Molly.
- In the Monk novel Mr. Monk in Outer Space, we have a scene where Lieutenant Disher is arresting a guy who only speaks in the fictitious Dratch constructed language, and this gem:
Lt. Randy Disher: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, regardless of what language you speak in, a real one or a TV one.
- The issue of the rights being read out from memory was averted in Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu, where Monk does read the Miranda rights from a card like he is supposed to when arresting a suspect in a quadruple homicide.
- In Another Note, Naomi places Beyond Birthday under arrest as he is loaded into the ambulance. She tells him that he does not have the right to a trial, an attorney, etc., because she is so distraught by the fact that he bludgeoned a 13-year-old girl to death. In actuality, he definitely would have had the right to a trial, an attorney, etc.; the law where he was arrested (Los Angeles, California) grants those to anyone who faces charges, even charges for heinous crimes.
- Miranda rights are often read by Harry Bosch and other detectives in the works of Michael Connelly. On several occasions, the detectives talk about when it will be required to Mirandize someone during a voluntary interview. In The Last Coyote, when Harry had convinced a suspect in a murder case to come to the police station for a voluntary interview. Harry hopes to cajole a confession out of the suspect, but before he could begin the interview, however, his lieutenant went and read the suspect his Miranda rights, tipping him off that they were investigating the incident as a murder rather than self-defense. When Harry started the interview and the suspect asked for a lawyer (essentially ending the interview before it could begin), Harry confronted the lieutenant and shoved him through his office window.
- Desperation: Peter and Mary Jackson, a couple driving cross-country in Peter's sister's car, are pulled over by crazy Eldritch Abomination-possessed Collie Entragian on the pretext of their missing rear license plate, and arrested for possession of marijuana after Entragian finds a baggie (which actually belongs to Peter's sister) in the car trunk. One of the signs that something is very wrong is when he's Mirandizing them and includes an unexpected phrase:
You have the right to remain silent,' the big cop said in his robot's voice. 'If you do not choose to remain silent, anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. I'm going to kill you. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand your rights as I have explained them to you?
- Sven Hassel had a policeman for Those Wacky Nazis saying, "You have the right to remain silent but I advise you not to use it or you will wish you'd never been born!"
- Fate/strange fake:
- After Saber blows up an opera house, Ayaka Sajyou is arrested for it because she was in the area. The policemen who cuff her Mirandize her. She is surprised that the police actually say it, having seen it from watching TV.
- Later, when the police try to arrest the wisecracking priest Hansa Cervantes, Chief Orlando Reeve says, "You do not have the right to remain silent. Nothing you say will be used in a court of law. You do not have the right to an attorney, and one will not be provided to you. Be prepared."
- Hilariously inverted in The 4400 episode "Trial by Fire": When the team finally catches the bad guy of the week, who had been blowing up members of the 4400, Tom Baldwin says to him "You are being arrested as a terrorist; you will be treated as an enemy combatant: you do NOT have the right to remain silent, you do NOT have the right to an attorney, and whatever you say will damn sure be used against you."
- In the CSI franchise, we typically cut away just after a CSI tells a detective to, "Read him his rights." On the original CSI, the criminalists are not police officers, so they aren't actually legally empowered to perform the arrest. In CSI: Miami and CSI NY, they are, but still defer to the nearest homicide detective.
- Law & Order usually uses the reading of the Miranda rights as part of an Act Break. The perp is cuffed, and a Detective will begin with "You have the right to remain silent, anything you do say..." as the scene fades to commercial. We are to assume the rest of the speech was given without having to waste camera time. In fact, if the entire Miranda speech is given on camera, it's a pretty good bet that much of Act II will be spent with the suspect arguing he wasn't Mirandized properly, or some other procedural technicality related to such. Law & Order may have been one of the first shows to demonstrate not only the legal repercussions of not advising suspects of their Fifth Amendment rights, but also ways that botching the warning doesn't mean the perp is automatically Off on a Technicality.
- Agent Scully occasionally says this from memory a few times in the earlier episodes of The X-Files after she and Mulder (or whichever member of the local law enforcement) make an arrest.
Mulder: Ronnie Strickland, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Come on, cut it out, Ronnie.
- In "Bad Blood", Agent Mulder gets in a lot of trouble when he kills a suspect with a Wooden Stake in the belief that he's a vampire, instead of arresting him. But then the guy rises from the dead as he really is a vampire. Mulder's attempt to arrest him this time involves trying to hold down his coffin lid while reading him his rights as the vampire inside desperately tries to throw him off.
- Misused on Rabbit Fall where the police constable is arresting the second boyfriend in a row to go to jail. She gives him the Miranda speech because he keeps trying to talk about why he did it. What's wrong with that? She's a Canadian police officer.
- Lampshaded in an episode of Martial Law. A female teenager who has had previous run-ins with police points out to Sammo that the lawyer who was sent to represent her didn't ask if she was read her rights, which tips off Sammo that the lawyer was a fake.
- Played with on NCIS — while trying to get a perp to talk, they tell him that they can connect his crime to terrorism and get him sent to Guantanamo Bay. His "rights" thus essentially boil down to "You have no rights." He talks.
- NCIS also occasionally reads a member of the military his or her "Article 31s." As a member of the armed forces, the suspect doesn't have Miranda rights, but Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice has a similar provision against compulsory self-incrimination.
- Parodied on Farscape ("Won't Get Fooled Again"):
Crais: FREEZE! You're under arrest! You have the right to the remains of a silent attorney! If you cannot afford one... tough noogies! You can make ONE phone call! I recommend Trixie: 976-Triple 5-LOVE. Do you understand these rights as I have explained them to you?! Well do ya, PUNK?Crichton: No...Crais: Well... then I can't arrest you!
- Bonus insanity points for being delivered by a man in high heeled shoes. Who then slams Crichton's head in a car door.
- In Lois & Clark, policeman barge into Lex Luthor's wedding and start reading his rights to him. Naturally, when they come to the "If you cannot afford a lawyer" part, Lex shouts that he can afford a thousand lawyers.
- In an episode where the Big Bad was pitting all of Metropolis against him, the public demands that Superman present various documents allowing him to fly (e.g. a pilot's license), his Social Security number (proving he pays taxes; which he does, just not as Superman), etc. When he catches a crook, the cops immediately let him go explaining that Supes didn't Mirandize him. Superman points out that the cops are usually the ones to do it.
- Happens Once an Episode (at least) on The Closer. Part of Brenda Johnson's skill as an interrogator is in getting suspects to waive those rights and/or slip up in the interview room. A common tactic for her is to persuade the suspects to revoke their Miranda rights and confess. In one episode, there's an inversion: Brenda tells the suspect how the murder was committed; once the suspect agrees with Brenda and admits guilt, only then does Brenda have her rights read and arrest her, since legally that's considered a spontaneous confession.
- In spinoff Major Crimes, Captain Raydor will usually advise suspects of their Miranda rights, and then advise them that if they call a lawyer, the chances of a plea-bargain deal go out the window.
- The Closer violates them in nearly every episode, when suspects ask for lawyers and have questions asked as 'minor things' while the lawyer is coming (technically this would mean that whatever the suspect said would be inadmissible, but any evidence found because of what they said would be allowed).
- Many writers add "editorial comments" from the arresting officer, as with this example from The Closer:
- Sanchez: "...any stupid thing you say will be used against you. You have the right to an attorney. If your broke ass can't afford one, one will be provided..."
- In the original 1950's radio and TV shows, being Mirandized never happened - because the show predated the Miranda decision.
- The '60s revival started just after the Miranda decision, so this happened frequently, with (usually) Sgt. Friday telling the person under interrogation at the beginning of said interrogation rather than at arrest.
- One notable Mirandizing came when Friday and his captain were busting a crooked cop on the take with a bookie operation. Once they had gathered all their evidence, the bad cop was brought into the captain's office with Friday present, and Friday tossed him a notebook (with the Miranda rights printed on the cover) and asked the suspect to read what was on the cover aloud. So in essence, the bad cop Mirandized himself, and didn't cotton on until Friday asked him if he understood his rights.
- Also Adam-12, which made sure to show Malloy or Reed pull a Miranda card out of their breast pocket to read suspects their rights.
- On Hardcastle and McCormick, in the early episodes Judge Hardcastle carried a Miranda card with him everywhere, including in the pocket of his bathrobe. Since his retirement project was to catch criminals who were getting acquitted on "technicalities," he wanted to make sure he followed procedure (even though, come to think of it, a retired judge isn't a cop, either).
- Having been schooled by Hardcastle, McCormick would sometimes remind the cops arresting the bad guys at the end of the episode that they had to read it from the card, for it to count.
- Discussed in an episode of Frasier. Frasier believes that he cannot commit perjury for Niles's sake, and has a discussion with Martin about it. Martin brings up an example where he did not read a criminal's rights. Said criminal had been arrested multiple times, and knew his rights as well as Martin did. This was an example of Hollywood Law, though, as Martin said he saw the suspect shoot someone, and thus wasn't going to interrogate him—it was unnecessary. Plus, the only reason he didn't read them anyway is because the suspect got loose and he had to go catch him.
- An episode of Bones featured Booth arresting and Mirandizing a suspect in a hurry, since he's on an international airplane that's seconds from landing...and once it touches down, Booth doesn't have jurisdiction. Of course, this is patently ridiculous. Miranda warnings are not necessary for a valid arrest; they are concerned with statements by the arrested suspect. "You're under arrest" would have been enough for jurisdictional purposes, with the Miranda warnings coming at Booth's leisure...if international jurisdiction worked like that anyway, which it (probably) doesn't.
- In one episode of Castle this crosses with Lying to the Perp. Beckett and Castle both insist that Beckett did not read a small time crook his rights and that he is free to go. The real ruse works in that they aren't after him, but his boss, who would see him walk out of the precinct (with suspicious ease) and assume he was working with the cops. The crooks only chance at survival is to implicate himself further so that the cops would arrest him, and thus keep him in custody.
- Spoofed in a later episode:
Beckett: You have the right to remain silent ... so shut the hell up.
- Spoofed in a later episode:
- In the Due South episode "Asylum", Ray gets framed for murder and runs to the Canadian consulate, whereupon Fraser promptly arrests him and reads him his Miranda rights. Since Fraser's whole reason for arresting him in the consulate is to force the Chicago police to extradite him from Canada, you'd think he'd at least make the effort of using the Canadian version of Reading Your Rights.
- One episode of The District had Detectives Page and Debreno have a case thrown out because they couldn't produce evidence that a suspect was informed of his rights. In the end, they catch the man committing another crime and make sure to shove a tape recorder in his face so they have audio evidence that he was Mirandized.
- Parodied in a The Kids in the Hall sketch that involves a very bored criminal robbing a very bored homeowner, then they're interrupted by a very bored police officer who tells the robber, "You have the right to blah blah blah..."
- Used on Boston Legal, where the police almost never get through the warning without one of the lawyers saying something smartass.
- Used rarely in Columbo. Most memorably, when arresting a lawyer for murdering his mistress: Columbo coolly tells him he's going to read him his rights, pulls out a crumpled note and reads it verbatim.
- Parodied in the Community episode Basic Lupine Urology which is an Affectionate Parody of Law & Order. Troy and Abed are acting like police detectives but regularly point out that they have no authority whatsoever.
- Troy: You have the right to do whatever you want, nothing you say or do can be used against you by anyone, but we'd really like it if you came with us, please-and-thank-you...
- On JAG: Harmon Rabb has his rights read to him twice, first by FBI Agents in "People v. Rabb", and Article 31 rights by Leroy Gibbs in "Ice Queen".
- Parodied in the Blue Bloods episode "The Truth About Lying" after Danny interrupts a suspect's escape attempt by running a shopping cart into his path. The subject goes down, hard.
Danny: You have the right to remain unconscious.
- In an episode of Starsky & Hutch, Hutch is Mirandizing a man whom he and Starsky caught in the process of raping a bruised and struggling woman, but as soon as he says "You have the right to remain silent—" the man, rather than keeping his trap shut, interrupts by yelling "Aw, c'mon, I was just trying to have a little fun! She came with me for kicks!" Hutch stubbornly keeps Mirandizing with "if you waive your right to remain silent anything you say may be used against you" but it's not much help to the rapist anymore.
- In one episode of Alien Nation, Officer Francisco had to arrest an elderly dying Newcomer who had murdered other Newcomers, who had been revealed to be Overseers who were hiding from their fellows to avoid punishment for their crimes. When Francisco starts reading his rights, he gets as far as "You have the right to remain silent," before the Newcomer shouts, "No one has the right to remain silent!"
- In the Legends of Tomorrow episode "The Magnificent Eight", the group time travels to the Wild West. Ray Palmer ends up becoming sheriff and starts to Mirandize a criminal he apprehends, until Snart points out Miranda Rights haven't been invented yet.
- In one episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Jake attempts to Mirandize a suspect after being forced to let his Sitcom Arch-Nemesis escape again, but starts with "You have the right to remain Doug Judy."
- In another episode, Jake and Amy are in a contest to see who can arrest the most escaped fugitives. In a tie, they both corner the final fugitive and begin rushing through the Miranda rights as fast as possible to be the first to finish and win.
- Mentioned by Ron White during his story about being arrested for being drunk in public:
"I had the right to remain silent—but I didn't have the ability."
- [PROTOTYPE]: "You have the right to be ventilated. I have the right to burn your home and shoot your dog. Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you?"
- Marcus in True Crime: New York City parodies this. "You have the right to an attorney and some other shit I can't remember." In the first installment, the protagonist sometimes says to suspects after beating them up and cuffing them: "You have the right to remain - unconscious!"
- In Police Quest, the player had better remember to read everyone they arrest their rights, if they want to finish the game with full points.
- This was even grounds for Non-Standard Game Over for one case that ended up in court.
- Which is strange, because the game was, supposedly, designed with the input of a retired police officer. One can imagine that the developers often ignored him.
- Gates from Policenauts recites these to Jonathan Ingram when framing him for murder.
- In one web game in which you throw water balloons on passers-by, if you hit a police car, the police show up to arrest you.
"You have the right to remain silent, so you can't say you don't have any rights at all."
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice, a testimony that one witness gives is titled "Right To Remain Silent". The "testimony" is nothing but silence. Although they have the right to not make any voluntary statements, they still have to answer any specific inquiries with a basic answer, which is how Phoenix gets through the subsequent cross-examination.
- From one Penny Arcade strip about two officers arresting a "Lamer".
Police Officer 1: You have the right to remain silent...Police Officer 2: While we take turns beating the stupid out of you.
- The Illustrated Guide To Law has a lengthy section on Miranda rights, what you can do in any particular situation, and what is admissible by the police. A summation of everything can be found here It also points out that technically what you're waiving when you waive your Miranda rights is not your right to silence and to have an attorney present but your right for the government to not coerce you into giving testimony you would not otherwise have given.
- In Kevin & Kell, when Douglas Squirrel is exposed as D.B. Cooper and arrested, they tried to read him his rights, but when they got to the 'you have the right to remain silent', he replies "Oh, I don't think so." Cut to Dorothy receiving his manuscript for D.B. Cooper: My Story and instructions to send it to every literary agent in New York.
- Batman: The Animated Series:
- Police Commissioner Gordon is arrested for a crime for which he was framed. The officer begins to recite the Miranda, but Gordon angrily stops him dead with the fact that he, for obvious reasons, is quite familiar with the recitation.
- In another episode, the ever-cynical Detective Bullock warns a perp he's just arrested, "You have the right to remain silent, if you choose to give up that right, you're probably going to bore me to death, so just shut up."
- Bullock has a few noteworthy "amendments" to the Miranda rights. In fact, in the shows run, he Mirandizes at least four perps, and not once does he actually use the correct wording.
- In the nightmare episode "Over the Edge", Detective Montoya tells Nightwing he has the right to remain silent. Nightwing just quips, "Waived."
- Parodied on The Simpsons when Marge becomes a cop. She is forced to arrest Homer after he repeatedly breaks the law (triple parking his car over three handicap spots so he could buy underage kids beer, then stealing Marge's hat). When she tells him of his right to remain silent, he replies "I choose to waive that right" and starts screaming.
Wiggum: You have the right to remain silent, anything you say blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...
- All the way back in season 1 (Krusty Gets Busted), Chief Wiggum arrests Krusty and tries to recite the Miranda Rights, but either forgets them or gets bored.
Wiggum: You have the right to remain um uh...(reads teleprompter) silent? That doesn't sound right.
- In the season 13 episode, "The Parent Rap", Wiggum tries again to recite them, this time using a teleprompter in his car.
Homer: You have the right to remain sexy. Anything you touch can and will be used against you in a court of sex. You have the right to an sextorney. If you cannot afford an sextorney, one will be provided- At this point Marge interrupts by grabbing and kissing Homer.
- Homer uses a modified Miranda rights as bedroom talk
Chief Wiggum: Nice work, boys. I think we can close the book on just about every unsolved crime in our city.Steve Sax: Don't I at least get to call my lawyer?Lou: You watch too many movies, Sax!
- Discussed and parodied in "Homer at the Bat" when the Springfield police arrest Steve Sax (long story) and when Sax asks for his lawyer, they laugh him off and tell him he watches too much TV.
- In the Hey Arnold! episode "Wheezin' Ed," when the kids find a counterfeit penny operation run by petty criminals Vic and Morrie, one of the arresting officers uses an interesting Malaproper when effecting the arrest:
Officer: Now get those kids in the boat pronto while I read these two clowns their Mirumba rights."
- In Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, Mr. Van Dreissen is arrested by the ATF. When he asks about his Miranda Rights, one of the agents wordlessly knocks him down with the butt of his rifle.
- Parodied in the Duckman episode "American Dicks", where Duckman is arrested during the taping of two rivaling police reality shows, and the officer arresting him states "You have the right to remain silent. You also have some other rights that they'll dub in during editing".
- The Mask: When a Mad Scientist created a Bad Future, Stanley was arrested and learned the Miranda rights don't exist in that timeline.
- Parodied in the SWAT Kats episode "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice". The Pastmaster reanimates several skeletons to do his bidding. When the skeletons try to attack some Enforcer pilots, the pilots say, "You have the right to remain buried!" before blowing them to pieces with a gatling gun.
- Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!: Upon being arrested by the clown police for breaking the cardinal code of clownhood, a Monster Clown is told he has the right to remain silent should he choose to be tried as a mime.
- Ernesto Miranda, the defendant who went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won, ended up serving the exact same sentence. The Supreme Court ruled that, because he had not been made aware of his right to not answer questions, his confession was not admissible, and the prosecution wasn't allowed to bring it up. However, the Court didn't simply let Miranda Off on a Technicality: they sent the case back for a new trial. Prosecutors retried him, didn't bring up the confession, and got the same verdict.
- Tragically or hilariously, depending your disposition, Miranda was paroled only to be stabbed to death shortly after in a bar fight. His murderer was probably confused when he was handed a card (more popular initially than speaking the rights) with his victim's name on it.
- More recently, the Supreme Court has now found that this trope brings out its own existence. In Dickerson v. United States, the Court ruled: "We do not think there is such justification for overruling Miranda. Miranda has become embedded in routine police practice to the point where the warnings have become part of our national culture."
- Unfortunately, despite the original intent of the Miranda decision (to eliminate shady-but-technically-legal police practices circa 1966), the result of the decision has been the standardization of the Miranda warning as part of official police procedure, followed by the adoption of many techniques that don't actually violate the letter of the law, but do undermine its spirit. The "photocopier lie detector" trick, for example, in both The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street, doesn't run afoul of the doctrine of Miranda, but is a good example of what the decision was intended to stop. (There's debate about whether that one occurred, but similar methods have developed in police stations across the country.) Additionally, people who are arrested rarely bother to remain silent, and besides, the Supreme Court has scaled back the boundaries of what Miranda means in the forty years since handing down the decision. In the end, Miranda doesn't really interfere with police investigations as much as you might think.
- As the original book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets points out, Miranda is essentially a compromise between a court system that wants to see the rights of the accused protected, and a society that wants to see crimes punished (because confessions are, by and large, the most effective vehicle for that).
- A good rule for anyone who encounters the police is that if the police ask you if they can do something, that means they cannot do it without your permission. If they don't need your permission, they aren't going to bother asking for it. No police officer ever asked someone for permission to arrest them. "Can I search your car?" or "you mind if I take a look in your car? You've got nothing to hide, right?" are ways that the police try to get around this without violating your rights, because if you gave them permission to search your person, your house, or your vehicle and they do find something, you are under arrest and it's perfectly legal because they had your permission. If a police officer asks to search you or your car or asks if he can talk to you, the smart thing to say is "am I being detained?" If they answer no, then tell them they do not have your permission and you are leaving. They can't stop you without arresting you. If they do arrest you, then you have the right to remain silent and you don't have to say anything. Also remember that if a police officer asks to search you or your vehicle or your house and you are not under arrest, if you say no, they cannot say "well, I'm searching anyway." THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME, AND THE POLICE DO IT BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT THEY WILL OFTEN GET AWAY WITH IT. Do not resist, but keep repeating that you do not give your permission, record everything on your phone if you can, and tell anyone nearby that you are being searched without your permission and would like them to stick around to get their name and phone number. If they do find something and arrest you, you will need all the witnesses you can get because anything found under those conditions is inadmissible. There is a clip online of a police officer telling men that he had pulled over that if they do not cooperate, he will just "make something up" and have them put away in jail for the rest of their lives. He boldly stated that THE POLICE DO THIS ALL THE TIME, and it's true. There are thousands of innocent men behind bars because of this.
- To temper this somewhat, if you don't actually feel like you're in legal jeopardy, you really do have nothing to hide, and know for certain that there is nothing incriminating on you, your person, or the property under your control, there's no point being a dick about it. Although there certainly are bad police officers, most officers are just trying to get to the bottom of something that happened nearby. Immediately invoking rights will escalate the officer's suspicion of you, in part reflecting the old saying: "Criminals know their rights better than their wrongs." Instead, just be friendly, don't bother explicitly saying no, and say verbally what's there ("All I've got in my trunk is a spare tire and my emergency kit"). You'll probably be let go without further incident; if not, you can escalate as needed. The moment you sense you're in legal jeopardy, though, you probably are, and should invoke every right at your disposal.
- In a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, the Miranda rights (and other American legal tropes) are so ubiquitous in the media that Canadians (who have a significantly different legal system) often expect to be handled like they would in the U.S. For example, the fifth amendment to the Constitution of Canada had nothing to do with rights. It allowed the federal government to provide a bridge between Prince Edward Island and the mainland rather than ferry services. Protection against self-incrimination is found in Section 13 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Canadian caution reads (with some variation depending on the police service):
"You are under arrest for [charge], do you understand? You have the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay. We will provide you with a toll-free telephone lawyer referral service, if you do not have your own lawyer. Anything you say can be used in court as evidence. Do you understand? Would you like to speak to a lawyer?"
- It's not helped by TV shows explicitly set in Canada which nonetheless feature cops reading arrestees their rights American-style. For example, Forever Knight, set in Toronto, has the hero's partner cuffing a guy, starting the "You have the right to remain silent" bit, and actually telling the guy "Sing along, you know the words!" (Canadian rights are, however, similar to American rights in regards to self-incrimination and legal representation. They're just not codified the same way as Miranda. The main significant differences: you do not have the right to have an attorney present while being questioned. If you ask for an attorney right away, the police have to hold off questioning you until you talk to one for advice, but you cannot say that they can't talk to you without your attorney being present. Also, invoking your right to silence doesn't mean the interrogation is over; you don't have to say anything, but the police don't have to stop asking you questions.)
- In France, it is mandatory to read their rights to arrested suspects. This is never done. Pop-Cultural Osmosis often causes French suspects to insist on rights they don't actually have, however.
- Rather amusingly, and due to the subtitles (Closed Captioning) being prepared by an American company, the UK Fly-on-the-Wall Documentary Police Interceptors has the caption "Recites Miranda" whenever one of the police officers tell a suspect "You Do Not Have to Say Anything".
- Neal Stephenson in In The Beginning Was The Command Line:
"We seem much more comfortable with propagating those values to future generations nonverbally, through a process of being steeped in media. Apparently this actually works to some degree, for police in many lands are now complaining that local arrestees are insisting on having their Miranda rights read to them, just like perps in American TV cop shows. When it's explained to them that they are in a different country, where those rights do not exist, they become outraged. Starsky & Hutch reruns, dubbed into diverse languages, may turn out, in the long run, to be a greater force for human rights than the Declaration of Independence."
- There was much debate (and backlash from some who believed it was akin to denying him them) when Boston police questioned Dzokhar Tsarnaev about the Boston Marathon bombing without being read his rights. Police justified this under the "public safety" exception, though a judge did Mirandize him eventually (and he shut up after he was).
- Note that this is almost exactly the hypothetical "mad bomber" scenario described at the top of the page.