Follow TV Tropes


Reading Your Rights

Go To

"It's like a cheap American film. When do you read me my rights?"
Onoff, A Pure Formality

In many countries, a suspected criminal being arrested must legally be read their rights as a suspect. The exact procedure, wording and overall intention varies between countries.

For country-specific forms of this, see You Do Not Have to Say Anything for the UK version and Miranda Rights for the US style. Please put US or UK examples on those pages, and reserve this page for examples from other real countries, or fictional cultures.

Fictional Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • In Tenchi Universe, Mihoshi attempts to read Ryoko her rights when the space pirate destroys the device Mihoshi is using to read them. Since Mihoshi is The Ditz and can't remember the entire thing, Ryoko pretty much gets off scott-free until the smarter Kiyone comes along a few episodes later.

    Comic Books 
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2020): Nova does this when facing off against the Olympians. Since they're Jerkass Gods, Zeus gets mightily pissed at the thought of a mere mortal reading out his rights. Violence ensues.
  • Top 10 has Smax trying to do this to Commissioner Ultima while getting the crap pounded out of him. At one point, Ultima brings a heavy load on his head, and he just says, "Okay, let's try this again. You have the right to remain silent..."
  • When Nodwick is arrested in a rather not-nice alternate reality:
    Legionnaire: You have the right to confess your transgressions. Any deviation from the truth will result in swift retribution and possibly death. Telling the truth is no guarantee of safety. You have the right to scream and beg for mercy, but that is often counter-productive. You have the right to die, but not until an agent of the state has utilized a weapon of some kind on your person. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?
    Nodwick: Er, not particularly. I—
    Legionnaire: The question was just a formality anyway.
    • And the refusal of a 'right to die' is not idle, in a world with ready access to resurrection spells.
  • Scooby-Doo! Team-Up: In Bedrock, a cop tells the arrestee: "You have the right to remain silent 'cause I don't wanna have to listen to you!"

    Fan Works 
  • In A Peccatis, Aurors are saddled with a wonderfully verbose version of the British police caution in order to plug the extra legal loopholes that being magical might present. Legal buffs might care to notice that in the Wizarding version, the right to remain silent (which is front and center in the Caution and Miranda) is the second-to-last thing mentioned. Also please note that unlike the caution, this one is to be recited upon arrest (or when the suspect wakes up from all the stunning spells), not interrogation. It reads as follows:
    It is my duty that you be made aware of your standing under the Provision of Magical Rights and Liberties. You have been apprehended by officers of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement while engaging in activities reasonably believed to be criminal in nature, and there is intent to hold you in violation of the law. Your wand has been confiscated and may not be returned to you unless you are exonerated of charges by the Wizengamot or equivalent legal due process. Officers of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement may use physical or magical force against you, including such as may cause permanent harm, injury, illness, incapacitation, or death if and only to the degree as is necessary to retain you in custody and to safeguard their own welfare as well as that of others. Any statement or incantation you may say or perform, including via non-verbal means may be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding. You are considered to be innocent until such time as guilt is reasonably proven, however your apprehension in situ is considered temporary grounds upon which you have waived your right to liberty at this time. You have the right to refuse to answer questions, however any false or misleading answers given will result in additional criminal charges. If you believe yourself to be operating under a curse, hex, jinx, or otherwise engaging in your current activities under magical coercion, you may indicate as such at any time. Additional rights and exclusions under wizarding law will be explained to you fully and completely as relevant. Do you understand these rights and exclusions?
  • In "The Road Not Taken", an AU Fic version of Kanril Eleya is the security chief for Deep Space 9 (as opposed to CO of a Galaxy-class starship in the prime timeline). Early on she arrests a Klingon who's making trouble and gives an apparent Bajoran version of the Miranda warning. (The rights listed are similar to the Israeli version.)
    “You do not have to say anything, and anything you say may be used against you. Remaining silent may also be used as supplementary evidence. You have the right to contact a family member or acquaintance and an attorney regarding your arrest, and you may be held seventy-eight standard hoursnote  without charge. Do you understand these rights as I have explained them?”
  • The MLP Loops: In one Loop, at the end of the Friendship Games, a cop who looks like an adult version of Fluttershy arrests Abacus Cinch for abusing her authority (bullying Twilight into participation in the Games and then into using the magic she'd gained). Then she comes back and recites a deliberately inaccurate version of the Miranda Rights to Spike ("Spike the dog? You have the right to remain adorable. Anything you say can and will result in you getting your chin tickled."). It's justified in that she wasn't actually intending to arrest him or announcing an intent to interrogate him - she just wanted to lighten the mood and reassure Sci-Twi that she wasn't going to be in trouble for her actions.

  • The Psycho Cop duology:
    • Partially employed in the first film as a one-liner when Officer Vickers is killing Zack, and he proclaims that "You have the right to remain... silent!"
    • In Psycho Cop Returns, Officer Vickers shoots a character, and starts reciting the Miranda Rights to his corpse, putting his own spin on it.
    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!
  • Fletch Lives. While being tossed in jail Fletch quips, "You realise you have to read me my rights? Or find someone who can read to do it for you."
  • Shrek 2: After he, Shrek, and Puss-in-Boots are thrown in the dungeon, Donkey incessantly complains that the guards never read him his rights.
    Shrek: Donkey, you have the right to remain silent! What you lack is the capacity.

  • When the police pull over Chuck Norris, they say "We have the right to remain silent..."

  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • Parodied in Guards! Guards! when Carrot makes an arrest, and begins the list of rights with things like "You have the right not to be summarily thrown into a piranha tank..." (Of course, this being Ankh-Morpork, the laws there might actually say that.)
    • Also referenced by Vimes:
      "Remember, the prisoner has rights. That means you do NOT put the boot in, even where it doesn't show."
    • In Thud!, Vimes asks Sgt Colon if he read the prisoner his rights, and Colon replies that he did, but the prisoner didn't want his tea and biscuit. (Rights 5a and 5b. Prisoners only get Right 5c if Colon's remembered to buy the fancy biscuits.)
    • In Making Money, Puccy Lavish is so enamored by the sound of her own Motive Rant that she refuses to stop talking long enough to be cautioned; eventually the officers have to write it on a card and show it to her.
  • In Perdido Street Station by China Miéville, New Crobuzon has a style of arrest requiring the presence of witnesses, usually dragooned by the militia into assisting in an arrest rather than acting under their own volition. Interestingly, this style of arrest was detailed in a Real Life situation in Robert Little's The October Circle as being in use in communist Bulgaria, complete with press-ganged witnesses.
  • The Adjudicators' version of reading your rights in Original Sin is pretty close to "you have no rights" anyway, but Roz Forrester still adds her own spin:
    "I am obliged to inform you that your words, guestures and postures are being recorded and may form part of any legal action against you. Under the terms of the data protection act 2820, as amended 2945, I am also obliged to inform you that you and any appointed legal representative will be able to purchase a copy of all recordings upon payment of the standard fee. I am obliged to tell you that, but I won't bother. Just don't piss us around."
  • In Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, the revised rights are incredibly wordy, and tri-lingual (a widget clipped to one cop's belt translates everything into Spanish and Japanese, until Y.T. speaks - which results in a further disclaimer that by speaking in English, she has tacitly agreed that all communications between her and the officers will now be in that language.) The partner of the rights-reader translates everything back into Badass Cop-Speak for his own amusement:
    "You are hereby warned that any movement on your part not explicitly endorsed by verbal authorization on my part may pose a direct physical risk to you, as well as consequential psychological and possibly, depending on your personal belief system, spiritual risks ensuing from your personal reaction to said physical risk. Any movement on your part consitutes an implicit and irrevocable acceptance of such risk."
    "Or as we used to say, 'Freeze, sucker!"
  • Mark Delewen and the Space Pirates has Officer Tirt tossing off this:
    Officer Tirt: You have the right to remain silent, but not to throw things, scream, beat your hands against the floor or in any other way make a fuss. Anything you do after this point will be regarded with severity, especially any attempt to resist the arrest! Should you at any time feel you require a lawyer, we will provide one to sue you! You cannot do or say anything that hasn’t been authorized by your arresting officer!
  • In Pact, Blake Thorburn gets the Canadian version when he's arrested for the murder of a child.
  • 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 grants those to anyone who faces charges, even charges for heinous crimes.
  • 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 is 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?"
  • 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!"
  • In the novelisation of the Doctor Who episode "Frontier in Space", the Doctor and Jo Grant are mistaken for spies and have their rights read out to them—they amount to them having no rights at all, as Jo points out. The Doctor is later shipped off to the Lunar Penal Colony for a life sentence without even a Kangaroo Court trial, so she's right about that.

    Live Action TV 
  • Red Dwarf has the Space Corps. rights:
    You are formally charged with [crimes]. Anything you say now or do not say now may be used at a board of enquiry against you. Do you require any form of aid?
  • The Doctor Who story Frontier In Space features an example where the statement more closely resembles the disclaimers found on competition forms and essentially means you have no rights at all.
  • In tough-guy cop show The Sweeney, Inspector Regan's reading of the rights generally summed to four words, usually accompanied by one last punch, kick or headbutt:
    You're fucking nicked, matey!
  • In the Farscape episode "Won't Get Fooled Again", Crichton hears a ridiculously mangled version from a Scarran-induced hallucination of Crais in a cop's uniform and bright red high-heels:
    "Officer" 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 you, punk?!
    Crichton: No!
    Crais: Then I can't arrest you! (clobbers him on the head)
  • Si-ohn does this when she arrests crime kingpin Hong Joo in Episode 15 of Korean Drama Who Are You?. If the translation is accurate, the standard Korean warning is very close in verbiage to the American Miranda Rights.
  • Towards the beginning of "A Near Vimes Experience" from The Watch (2021), Sam Vimes tells a stray dog that he's been reduced to trying to arrest that it has the right to remain silent. It pees on his foot.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • An old editorial cartoon from the 1980's satirized the justice system of the Soviet Union by showing the KGB arresting someone while reading them the "rights" of "You have been set up, you have the right to remain set up. Everything we say can and will be used against you in a sort-of law. You have the right to an executioner. If you cannot afford an executioner, you will be executed anyway and your family will be billed for the bullet." The "billed for the bullet" bit was supposedly once done in the People's Republic of China).

    Video Games 
  • [PROTOTYPE] has this:
    You have the right to be ventilated. I have the right to burn your home and shoot your dog. Do you understand your rights as I have read them to you?
  • Zork: Grand Inquisitor has this exchange, complete with cue card:
    Wartle: Go ahead and read him his rights.
    Inquisition Guard: You... have no rights.
  • The protagonist of Baldur's Gate II has the option to ask an Obstructive Bureaucrat of Athkatla if "I have the right to remain silent". As if this wasn't anachronistic enough, the protagonist isn't even the accused, but simply a witness to a crime.
  • In Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars, a UNSF security officer starts out reading the Miranda Rights to Cage, then stops and says, "screw it, twitch and we'll vaporize you where you stand" (paraphrased).
  • In Mass Effect, 180 years in the future on a distant planet with an alien criminal:
    Parasini: You have the right to remain silent. I wish to God you'd exercise it.

  • In Freefall strip 2257, the police arrest a robot.
    You have the right to data integrity. Should you give up this right, accessed memories can and will be used against you. You have the right to tech support.
  • Exterminatus Now does it in an early strip here when Eastwood and Virus come to arrest some cultists. Eastwood starts to recite the traditional Miranda Rights, before cracking up and admitting that the cultists don't actually have any rights.
  • Green Gable perfectly recites the Canadian version to Captain Alberta while arresting him in this page of Spinnerette.

    Western Animation 
  • In Pasila, a man in drag being escorted to jail from his bachelor party alternatively complains how "you didn't read me my rights!" and "What kind of a country is this when people are read their rights!" to Pöysti, despite Pöysti repeatedly stating that there is nothing resembling Miranda rights in Finland. After getting tired of his complaining, he finally obliges and comes up with the following: "Okay. You're under arrest. You have the right to remain silent, or talk in a quiet voice. Everything you say may be used against you. Some of it will come against you on its own, while the rest will be purposefully used against you via judicial trickery. You know, being presented with a heavy bias in a really annoying manner! God bless."
  • Inch High, Private Eye traces the theft of wild animals to toymaker Spumoni.
    Inch High: You have the right to remain silent, you have the right to an attorney, and you have the right not to answer any questions except one. Why are you stealing all the animals?
  • Danger Mouse: in "Public Enemy No. 1," DM gets amnesia and goes on a crime spree. When some police officers try to apprehend him within a cartoon fight cloud:
    You are not obliged to say anything...hold still...but anything you do say may be taken down as evidence.