Miranda; Can and WILL be used against you

Lately when I hear the Miranda ruling quoted either by actors or by real cops, thay always say “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Didn’t it just used to be “can be used against you”?

I realize that there is not a single way of informing someone of their rights, but the “Anything you say…” bit seems to be something of the standard.

Now my real question is this: what’s up with this notion that anything you say will be used against you? That doesn’t even make sense. For starters it implies that it is guaranteed that there is going to be a trial or at least some sort of judicial disposition. Furthermore there are lots of things a person may say that could not in any way be used against him - like name and address, or “I didn’t do it!”

What’s up with this will thing?

I asked a police officer friend of mine the same question once, and his answer was so vague I can’t even remember it. It seems to me that if the police want a prisoner to confess, or even to talk at all, they should say something a bit more encouraging. If I were told that anything I say will be used against me, I’d be afraid to say I had to go to the toilet.


I’m not a lawyer or a cop. I always thought the wording was to let the alleged criminal know that even if some cop tells them later that that they won’t use some statement or other, it can still be used. Basically, that the procecution won’t necessarily be held to any promises about what they will or won’t use against you.

Sure, but that’s coverd under the “can” part of the statement. I’m puzzled about the “will” part: “Anything you say can and will be used against you.”

The Miranda is not for the police. Its for the protection of the arrested person.

IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer), but my impression is that any statement that an accused makes after being read his or her rights will be used against him or her if it can be, depending on the charge.

In other words, if an accused says, “I killed Joe Smith,” then that statement can be used. But if an accused says, “I have to go to the washroom,” while under arrest, then it’s not much use to the prosecution. Unless, perhaps, it’s a drug arrest, and there is a chance that the accused might flush evidence.

In short, after being Miranda’ed (is that a verb?), the accused must be careful not to say anything that might give the DA additional ammunition in the case. But a request for a drink of water won’t matter much.

“Will” is, as the OP suspects, not necessarily the case. “Can” alone would have been just as accurate. However, as Duck Duck Goose says, the Miranda warning came essentially verbatim from the Supreme Court’s “suggestion” of what would be a constitutionally acceptable warning about the arrested person’s rights. Although the police are not required to use the Supreme Court’s version, they do have to use a warning that conveys the same information and makes the same impression on the detainee. But since they know the generic warning will will suffice, they have no reason to change anything and risk different wording being held unconstitutional. Thus, “can and will” it is.

according to ‘The Dictionary of Misinformation’ by Tom Burnam, (some sort of uber-cecil from 1975, it seems) the correct wording for the british warning is ‘you are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so, but what you say may be put in to writing and given in eveidence.’

so, i’d imagine that the u.s would be fairly similar… maybe it says ‘may’, as opposed to ‘will’

well, i didn’t really answer much with this post, did i?

No, but your posts are always a good read. Keep it up, and welcome.