Miranda v. Arizona (1966) Definition

A U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that the 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination bars the prosecution from using statements obtained from a criminal suspect who's under arrest or being questioned while in police custody, unless the suspect understands and knowingly "waives" (gives up) certain rights. Known today as "Miranda rights," these rights include:

  • the right to remain silent
  • the right to have a lawyer present during questioning, and
  • the right to a court-appointed attorney if they can't afford one.

In addition, the suspect must be told that anything they say can be used in court.

To prove that a suspect understood and knowingly waived their Miranda rights, police routinely "Mirandize" the suspect, advising them of their Miranda rights (also called a "Miranda warning") before arrest or questioning.