What are Military Miranda Rights?

If you’ve seen someone get arrested on TV, you’ve probably heard of Miranda rights. A law enforcement officer reads these fundamental rights aloud to people. A person subject to the law is told that they have the right to remain silent, that anything they say or do can be used against them, and that they have the right to an attorney.

Do these rights apply to service members? This article will explore a service member’s Miranda rights according to the rules of military justice.

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The Evolution of Miranda Rights in the Military

Also known as Miranda warnings, the Miranda rights came into effect after a case in 1966. The defendant in a particular case, Ernesto Miranda, confessed that he was guilty of the crime when he was in police custody. The case outcome was then overturned because of the police’s extremely aggressive interrogation practices. Miranda was convicted in the end, but it was made sure that his new trial was a fair trial.

In 1968, California Deputy Attorney General Doris Maier and District Attorney Harold Berliner finalized the text of the Miranda warning. To this day, these rights are recognized and protected by the United States Constitution.

Do the Miranda rights apply to members of the Armed Forces? Not precisely, but Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) serves as the military law equivalent of these fundamental rights.

Do Military Members Get Miranda Rights?

Service members don’t have the same rights as civilians, so Miranda warnings don’t apply to them. However, Article 31 of the UCMJ provides more protection to military personnel.

Key Differences: Military vs. Civilian Miranda Rights

The custody requirement is the most significant difference between military and civilian Miranda warnings. All service members are entitled to Article 31 rights whether or not they’re under the custody of a military law enforcement agent.

Article 31 Rights vs. Miranda Warnings

Article 31 specifies the fundamental rights of an accused or a person subject to the law in the military. Some rights include the right to know what offense they’re being charged with, the right to remain silent, the right to submit evidence relevant to the accusation, and the right not to have unlawfully obtained evidence used against one in court.

Article 31 protects service members from being tried unfairly in a court martial or equivalent. It is interesting to note that Article 31 rights precedes Miranda rights by over a decade. However, Article 31 and Miranda rights serve the same purpose of protecting the rights of the accused and encouraging a fair trial.

Article 31 Rights According to Military Justice 

You should understand that the concept of an absolute right against self-incrimination is slightly different in the military. The UCMJ controls the Miranda warnings for military members.

Before a military law enforcement agent interrogates a suspect, they must advise them of their Article 31 rights.If a service member suspects another member has violated the law, that person subject to interrogation must be read their Article 31 rights.

Article 31 rights apply regardless of the setting where the military member is being accused or interrogated. To avoid compulsory self-incrimination, the golden rule is to never talk to law enforcement without an attorney present if you’re suspected of an offense.

If you intend to make a statement, you must understand the consequences and waive your rights. Once your rights are waived, anything you say can and will be used against you in court. That’s why you should never waive your rights. Instead, working with a military defense attorney would be best.

The Impact of Not Receiving Miranda Rights as a Service Member

What if a person suspected of an offense wasn’t read their Article 31 rights out loud? There is a slim chance that your case will be dismissed. However, this would depend on the subject, what the context is, and what prompted the interrogation to take place.

When minor offenses like a DUI are involved, Miranda rights aren’t usually read to service members because there is plenty of evidence that proves their guilt. On the other hand, in case of a severe offense such as murder, it’s possible that the evidence given during the interrogation would not have been excluded from the official findings. Hence, it’s possible that the case would be dismissed.

If a person isn’t read their Article 31 rights, the evidence that might cause a court-martial or military trial during the interrogation might not be honored.

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Like civilians, military personnel have rights they should invoke once arrested. If you or someone you know is subject to the law, they should be informed of their fundamental rights. Article 31 rights apply primarily to active duty service members. Sign up for SCRACVS to determine if a person is on active duty today.


What is Article 31 of the Army?

Army’s rights include the right to know what offense they’re being charged with, the right to remain silent, the right to submit evidence relevant to the accusation, and the right not to have unlawfully obtained evidence used against one in court.

What is the meaning of Miranda rights?

Miranda rights are the rights to remain silent, to have an attorney present, and to have an attorney appointed if indigent. Miranda rights must be recited to people arrested by a law enforcement officer.

When can Miranda rights be invoked?

You can invoke any Miranda rights after you are informed of them. Failing to invoke these rights immediately doesn’t mean you can’t invoke them later.

Can you plead the fifth in the military? 

Yes, service members have the right to invoke their Fifth Amendment right. This refers to the right to remain silent.

Do military members get read Miranda rights?

No, because military members are subject to Article 31 rights instead. Once arrested, they must be read their Article 31 rights.

What are the Miranda rights Article 31b?

Article 31B refers to service members’ right against self-incrimination.

Attorney Roy Kaufmann serves as the Director of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service, located in Washington, D.C. As a recognized authority on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Mr. Kaufmann has published hundreds of articles and hosted many webinars. His teachings help law firms and businesses to remain compliant with the SCRA rules and regulations so as to avoid costly fines.