...Mr. Chief Justice Warren delivered the opinion of the Court.
The cases before us raise questions which go to the roots of our concepts of American criminal
jurisprudence: the restraints society must observe consistent with the Federal Constitution in
prosecuting individuals for crime. More specifically, we deal with the admissibility of statements
obtained from an individual who is subjected to custodial police interrogation and the necessity
for procedures which assure that the individual is accorded his privilege under the Fifth
Amendment to the Constitution not to be compelled to incriminate himself.
We dealt with certain phases of this problem recently in Escobedo v. Illinois, 378
U.S. 478 (1964). There, as in the four cases before us, law enforcement officials took the
defendant into custody and interrogated him in a police station for the purpose of obtaining a
confession. The police did not effectively advise him of his right to remain silent or of his right to
consult with his attorney. Rather, they confronted him with an alleged accomplice who accused
him of having perpetrated a murder. When the defendant denied the accusation and said "I didn't
shoot Manuel, you did it," they handcuffed him and took him to an interrogation room. There,
while handcuffed and standing, he was questioned for four hours until he confessed. During this
interrogation, the police denied his request to speak to his attorney, and they prevented his
retained attorney, who had come to the police station, from consulting with him. At his trial, the
State, over his objection, introduced the confession against him. We held that the statements thus
made were constitutionally inadmissible...
We granted certiorari in these cases, 382 U.S. 924, 925, 937, in order further to explore some
facets of the problems thus exposed, of applying the privilege against self-incrimination to
in-custody interrogation, and to give concrete constitutional guidelines for law enforcement
agencies and courts to follow...
Our holding will be spelled out with some specificity in the pages which follow but briefly stated it
is this: the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming
from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural
safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination. By custodial interrogation,
we mean questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into
custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way. As for the
procedural safeguards to be employed, unless other fully effective means are devised to inform
accused persons of their right of silence and to assure a continuous opportunity to exercise it, the
following measures are required. Prior to any questioning, the person must be warned that he has
a right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and
that he has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed. The defendant may
waive effectuation of these rights, provided the waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly and
intelligently. If, however, he indicates in any manner and at any stage of the process that he wishes
to consult with an attorney before speaking there can be no questioning. Likewise, if the
individual is alone and indicates in any manner that he does not wish to be interrogated, the police
may not question him. The mere fact that he may have answered some questions or volunteered
some statements on his own does not deprive him of the right to refrain from answering any
further inquiries until he has consulted with an attorney and thereafter consents to be
At the outset, if a person in custody is to be subjected to interrogation, he must first be informed
in clear and unequivocal terms that he has the right to remain silent. For those unaware of the
privilege, the warning is needed simply to make them aware of it -- the threshold requirement for
an intelligent decision as to its exercise. More important, such a warning is an absolute
prerequisite in overcoming the inherent pressures of the interrogation atmosphere. It is not just
the subnormal or woefully ignorant who succumb to an interrogator's imprecations, whether
implied or expressly stated, that the interrogation will continue until a confession is obtained or
that silence in the face of accusation is itself damning and will bode ill when presented to a jury.
Further, the warning will show the individual that his interrogators are prepared to recognize his
privilege should he choose to exercise it...
The warning of the right to remain silent must be accompanied by the explanation that anything
said can and will be used against the individual in court. This warning is needed in order to make
him aware not only of the privilege, but also of the consequences of forgoing it. It is only through
an awareness of these consequences that there can be any assurance of real understanding and
intelligent exercise of the privilege. Moreover, this warning may serve to make the individual
more acutely aware that he is faced with a phase of the adversary system -- that he is not in the
presence of persons acting solely in his interest.
The circumstances surrounding in-custody interrogation can operate very quickly to overbear the
will of one merely made aware of his privilege by his interrogators. Therefore, the right to have
counsel present at the interrogation is indispensable to the protection of the Fifth Amendment
privilege under the system we delineate today. Our aim is to assure that the individual's right to
choose between silence and speech remains unfettered throughout the interrogation process. A
once-stated warning, delivered by those who will conduct the interrogation, cannot itself suffice
to that end among those who must require knowledge of their rights. A mere warning given by
the interrogators is not alone sufficient to accomplish that end...
Accordingly we hold that an individual held for interrogation must be clearly informed that he has
the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation under the
system for protecting the privilege we delineate today. As with the warnings of the right to remain
silent and that anything stated can be used in evidence against him, this warning is an absolute
prerequisite to interrogation. No amount of circumstantial evidence that the person may have been
aware of this right will suffice to stand in its stead. Only through such a warning is there
ascertainable assurance that the accused was aware of this right...
Once warnings have been given, the subsequent procedure is clear. If the individual indicates in
any manner, at any time prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain silent, the
interrogation must cease...
This does not mean, as some have suggested, that each police station must have a "station house
lawyer" present at all times to advise prisoners. It does mean, however, that if police propose to
interrogate a person they must make known to him that he is entitled to a lawyer and that if he
cannot afford one, a lawyer will be provided for him prior to any interrogation...
If the interrogation continues without the presence of an attorney and a statement is taken, a
heavy burden rests on the government to demonstrate that the defendant knowingly and
intelligently waived his privilege against self-incrimination and his right to retained or appointed
A recurrent argument made in these cases is that society's need for interrogation outweighs the
privilege. This argument is not unfamiliar to this Court. See, e.g., Chambers v.
Florida, 309 U.S. 227, 240-241 (1940). The whole thrust of our foregoing discussion
demonstrates that the Constitution has prescribed the rights of the individual when confronted
with the power of government when it provided in the Fifth Amendment that an individual cannot
be compelled to be a witness against himself. That right cannot be abridged. As Mr. Justice
Brandeis once observed:
"Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the
same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the
government will be imperilled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the
potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example.
Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it
invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the
administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means...would bring terrible retribution.
Against that pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face." Olmstead v.
United States, 277 U.S. 438, 485 (1928) (dissenting opinion)...
If the individual desires to exercise his privilege, he has the right to do so. This is not for the
authorities to decide. An attorney may advise his client not to talk to police until he has had an
opportunity to investigate the case, or he may wish to be present with his client during any police
questioning. In doing so an attorney is merely exercising the good professional judgment he has
been taught. This is not cause for considering the attorney a menace to law enforcement. He is
merely carrying out what he is sworn to do under his oath -- to protect to the extent of his ability
the rights of his client. In fulfilling this responsibility the attorney plays a vital role in the
administration of criminal justice under our Constitution.
In announcing these principles, we are not unmindful of the burdens which law enforcement
officials must bear, often under trying circumstances. We also fully recognize the obligation of all
citizens to aid in enforcing the criminal laws. This Court, while protecting individual rights, has
always given ample latitude to law enforcement agencies in the legitimate exercise of their duties.
The limits we have placed on the interrogation process should not constitute an undue
interference with a proper system of law enforcement. As we have noted, our decision does not in
any way preclude police from carrying out their traditional investigatory functions. Although
confessions may play an important role in some convictions, the cases before us present graphic
examples of the overstatement of the "need" for confessions. In each case authorities conducted
interrogations ranging up to five days in duration despite the presence, through standard
investigating practices, of considerable evidence against each defendant...
On March 13, 1963, petitioner, Ernesto Miranda, was arrested at his home and taken in custody
to a Phoenix police station. He was there identified by the complaining witness. The police then
took him to "Interrogation Room No. 2" of the detective bureau. There he was questioned by two
police officers. The officers admitted at trial that Miranda was not advised that he had a right to
have an attorney present. Two hours later, the officers emerged from the interrogation room with
a written confession signed by Miranda. At the top of the statement was a typed paragraph stating
that the confession was made voluntarily, without threats or promises of immunity and "with full
knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statement I make may be used against me."
At his trial before a jury, the written confession was admitted into evidence over the objection of
defense counsel, and the officers testified to the prior oral confession made by Miranda during the
interrogation. Miranda was found guilty of kidnapping and rape. He was sentenced to 20 to 30
years' imprisonment on each count, the sentences to run concurrently. On appeal, the Supreme
Court of Arizona held that Miranda's constitutional rights were not violated in obtaining the
confession and affirmed the conviction. 98 Ariz. 18, 401 P. 2d 721. In reaching its decision, the
court emphasized heavily the fact that Miranda did not specifically request counsel.
We reverse. From the testimony of the officers and by the admission of respondent, it is clear that
Miranda was not in any way apprised of his right to consult with an attorney and to have one
present during the interrogation, nor was his right not to be compelled to incriminate himself
effectively protected in any other manner. Without these warnings the statements were
inadmissible. The mere fact that he signed a statement which contained a typed-in clause stating
that he had "full knowledge" of his "legal rights" does not approach the knowing and intelligent
waiver required to relinquish constitutional rights...
...Mr. Justice White...dissenting...
Nor can this decision do other than have a corrosive effect on the criminal law as an effective
device to prevent crime. A major component in its effectiveness in this regard is its swift and sure
enforcement. The easier it is to get away with rape and murder, the less the deterrent effect on
those who are inclined to attempt it. This is still good common sense. If it were not, we should
posthaste liquidate the whole law enforcement establishment as a useless, misguided effort to
control human conduct.
And what about the accused who has confessed or would confess in response to simple,
noncoercive questioning and whose guilt could not otherwise be proved? Is it so clear that release
is the best thing for him in every case? Has it so unquestionably been resolved that in each and
every case it would be better for him not to confess and to return to his environment with no
attempt whatsoever to help him? I think not. It may well be that in many cases it will be no less
than a callous disregard for his own welfare as well as for the interests of his next victim.
There is another aspect to the effect of the Court's rule on the person whom the police have
arrested on probable cause. The fact is that he may not be guilty at all and may be able to extricate
himself quickly and simply if he were told the circumstances of his arrest and were asked to
explain. This effort, and his release, must now await the hiring of a lawyer or his appointment by
the court, consultation with counsel and then a session with the police or the prosecutor.
Similarly, where probable cause exists to arrest several suspects, as where the body of the victim
is discovered in a house having several residents, compare Johnson v. State, 238
Md. 140, 207 A. 2d 643 (1965), cert. denied, 382 U.S. 1013, it will often be true that a suspect
may be cleared only through the results of interrogation of other suspects. Here too the release of
the innocent may be delayed by the Court's rule.
Much of the trouble with the Court's new rule is that it will operate indiscriminately in all criminal
cases, regardless of the severity of the crime or the circumstances involved. It applies to every
defendant, whether the professional criminal or one committing a crime of momentary passion
who is not part and parcel of organized crime. I will slow down the investigation and the
apprehension of confederates in those cases where time is of the essence, such as kidnapping, see
Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 183 (Jackson, J., dissenting);
People v. Modesto, 62 Cal. 2d 436, 446, 398 P. 2d 753, 759 (1965), those
involving the national security, see United States v. Drummond, 354 F. 2d 132,
147 (C.A. 2d Cir. 1965) (en banc) (espionage case), pet. for cert. pending, No. 1203, Misc., O.T.
1965; cf. Gessner v. United States, 354 F. 2d 726, 730, n. 10 (C.A. 10th Cir.
1965) (upholding, in espionage case, trial ruling that Government need not submit classified
portions of interrogation transcript), and some of those involving organized crime. In the latter
context the lawyer who arrives may also be the lawyer for the defendant's colleagues and can be
relied upon to insure that no breach of the organization's security takes place even though the
accused may feel that the best thing he can do is to cooperate.
At the same time, the Court's per se approach may not be justified on the ground that it provides a
"bright line" permitting the authorities to judge in advance whether interrogation may safely be
pursued without jeopardizing the admissibility of any information obtained as a consequence. Nor
can it be claimed that judicial time and effort, assuming that is a relevant consideration, will be
conserved because of the ease of application of the new rule. Today's decision leaves open such
questions as whether the accused was in custody, whether his statements were spontaneous or the
product of interrogation, whether the accused has effectively waived his rights, and whether
nontestimonial evidence introduced at trial is the fruit of statements made during a prohibited
interrogation, all of which are certain to prove productive of uncertainty during investigation and
litigation during prosecution. For all these reasons, if further restrictions on police interrogation
are desirable at this time, a more flexible approach makes much more sense than the Court's
constitutional straitjacket which forecloses more discriminating treatment by legislative or
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