Should a Tennessee law enforcement officer try to question you about a criminal case (s)he is working on, you need to know that you are under no legal obligation to voluntarily talk with him or her. It is true. Your Miranda rights and your constitutional rights from which they flow mean that you never need to talk with law enforcement officers without having your attorney with you. All you must do is give officers your name and identification if and when they ask for it. Other than that, you need do nothing further or divulge any additional information.
While your best interests dictate that you never “mouth off” to a law enforcement officer, you nevertheless should feel free to calmly assert your Miranda rights whenever you need to. You probably have heard these rights recited numerous times in movies and on TV, so you likely already know that your Miranda rights have the following four components:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to an attorney.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.