You have certain rights granted by amendments to the constitution that protect you if you get arrested for a crime. You may already be familiar with the Miranda warning that law enforcement recites to those that they arrest. According to Cornell Law School, the Miranda warning must clearly state that suspects have “the right to remain silent, the right to consult with an attorney and have the attorney present during questioning, and the right to have an attorney appointed if indigent.”
In every state, including California, law enforcement must recite the full Miranda warning to suspects before questioning.
Why you should know your Miranda rights
It is important to understand your Miranda rights because anything that you say or do when you interact with law enforcement might be admissible in court. As outlined in an article from TeenVogue, law enforcement does not have to inform you of your Miranda rights until you have been officially arrested and taken into custody, so knowing your Miranda rights beforehand can help you avoid saying anything incriminating.
What those rights actually mean
The right to remain silent means that you do not have to speak to law enforcement. Staying silent does not mean that you are admitting guilt. Although you do have a right to an attorney, you have to be the one to request your attorney. Do not expect law enforcement to contact your attorney or provide you with one without your asking. Be aware that you may need to invoke your Miranda rights multiple times during detention with law enforcement. Your constitutional rights do not change, no matter how long law enforcement detains you.