The phrase Miranda is used to refer to a criminal's Miranda Rights, namely his rights upon being arrested, the most widely-known of which is his or her "right to remain silent". The term is sometimes used colloquially by law enforcement officers to describe an arrest ("I took him myself. Miranda'd him, the whole drill..." - Hank Weldon, "Out Where the Buses Don't Run").
A criminal's Miranda Rights also give them to right to request an attorney, a process sometimes known, particularly amongst criminals, as "lawyering up". By law, a suspect's rights upon being arrested have to be stated to them by the arresting officer(s), in the form of a standard Miranda Warning. In the United States, the warning typically reads as follows:
- (Originally): "You [the suspect] have the right to remain silent. If you give up 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 and to have that attorney present during questioning. If you so desire and cannot afford one, an attorney [public defender] will be appointed to you without charge before any questioning. Do you understand these rights as they have been explained to you?"
- (Currently): "You [the suspect] have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed [public defender] for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?
The Miranda Warning came into effect following a Supreme Court ruling in 1966. Various court decisions over the years have modified certain aspects of the warning, but the overall format has not changed greatly since its' inception. Many countries around the world make use of similar warnings, although the exact wording may differ (for example, in the UK the "right to remain silent" is paraphrased as "you do not have to say anything").
Use in Miami Vice
Owing to the fact most villains were killed outright in confrontations with the police, the Miranda Warning was rarely heard on Miami Vice. However, the warning did make infrequent appearances:
- "One Eyed Jack " - IAD Officer Schroeder reads Crockett the rights after arresting him for taking money from Vincent DeMarco .
- "Give a Little, Take a Little" -- Crockett reads Bob Rickert his rights after finding the stash of drugs in Sally Alvarado's warehouse.
- "Little Prince" -- Metro-Dade police read Mark Jorgenson, Sr. his rights after confessing to murdering Mary McDermott.
- "Rites of Passage" -- Crockett reads Valerie Gordon her Miranda Rights after she shot and killed David Traynor illegally.
- "The Maze" -- Crockett asks Detective Tim Duryea if he's "ever heard of the Miranda Act" when he tells him how he brutally subdued a suspect.
- "Made for Each Other" -- Zito reads the "right to remain silent" to Izzy Moreno while imitating a parrot.
- "Bought and Paid For" -- Crockett Mirandized Nico Arroyo when arresting him on suspicion of raping Odette Ribaud.
- "Back in the World" -- DEA agents read the rights to two teen-aged boys after finding marijuana in a plane.
- "Definitely Miami" -- Metro-Dade police read Callie Basset her rights while taking her to a police helicopter (and she tries flirting with the officer en route).
- "Knock, Knock... Who's There?" -- Crockett was forced to read his friend Linda Colby her Miranda Rights for her role in fake DEA raids on drug deals.
- "Rock and a Hard Place" -- Crockett read Wiggins his rights after he rescued him from his burning car.
Outside of Miami Vice, the Miranda Warning is one of the most famous and widely-known pieces of dialogue associated with crime fiction; many people who are able to quote their nation's version of the warning are able to do so through its extensive use in television and film. Examples of series that feature such warnings heavily include Jack Webb's series' Dragnet and Adam-12 in the US, and long-running police soap The Bill in the UK.
"Taking the Fifth"
In United States, the right to remain silent is codified in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, while the right to an attorney is codified in the Sixth Amendment. The phrase "taking the Fifth" is often used by criminals to cite their legal right to refrain from responding to questions that might otherwise lead to them giving damaging answers, whether it be under interrogation or in court.
This technique was seen occasionally in Miami Vice (on one occasion by Al Lombard in the episode "Lombard"), although, as with the Miranda Warning, the fact so few criminals survived to appear in court largely precluded its use. However, the citing of the Fifth Amendment is prominent in many other works of crime fiction, typically portrayed in an exaggerated fashion as a legal loophole that allows suspects to escape conviction entirely.