You Do Not Have to Say Anything

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Standard caution read to anyone who gets arrested in the UK. Unlike the Miranda rights, this is almost always done as well on TV (even if only parts of it), if not necessarily by the character who actually cuffs the perp.

The current England and Wales version (as modified by the 1994 Criminal Justice Act) is:

"You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

The original version prior to 1994 was:

"You do not have to say anything if you do not wish to do so, but anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law."

(Sharp-eyed tropers will note that the accused now has only a qualified right to remain silent, whereas before 1994 the accused had an absolute right to remain silent. This change was enormously controversial at the time and is still lamented by civil libertarians. It may also be at odds with the European Convention on Human Rights.)

The Scottish version is:

"You do not have to say anything. But anything you do say may be noted in evidence."

A frequent TV practice is for a senior officer to yell "You're nicked!" before a junior officer recites this caution. Another practice is for the arrestee (or someone nearby) to complain that they have been framed.

The speech is done so often it may merely be subtitled as "Recites Caution".

For the version used in the United States see Miranda Rights. For anything not US or UK see Reading Your Rights.

Examples of You Do Not Have to Say Anything include:


  • Heard briefly in Hot Fuzz when Nicholas arrests the chav shoplifter.
    • Averted in the same film, where Angel arrests Skinner, and in a complete reversal of his procedural correctness in the execution of unquestionable moral authority, as he states the cause for arrest and supporting evidence yet fails to caution them. They are promptly dearrested afterwards anyway due to a lack of corroborating evidence


  • Spoofed in Incompetence, the comedy novel by Rob Grant, where the caution takes up an entire chapter and basically amounts to "anything you say (or don't say) means you're both guilty and fully understand your rights".
    • There is also a simplified version, for suspects who don't understand the full version:

"You don't have to say anything, but if you don't, bad things will happen to you. You can ask for a lawyer, but if you do, bad things will happen to you. Do you understand, or shall I read the full version again?"

Live-Action TV

  • In the first series of Life On Mars, Sam Tyler stubbornly continues to recite the post-1994 version of the caution in 1973. Each time, another cop or the arrestee tells him he's got it wrong. And at one point, he catches himself, tries to remember the old version, and comes up with the Miranda warning from the US.
    • In an obvious Shout-Out in the second episode of Ashes to Ashes, Alex Drake bribes Gene Hunt into nicking the perp she's sure is the right man (but Gene is unconvinced of) by letting Gene stamp her bum. To his credit, the Gene Genie backs her 100% during the arrest, to the point of dragging an old man down a flight of stairs by his pajamalegs, but when Alex tries to give the kid his caution, Gene loudly says "That's not how it goes!"
      • In another episode of Ashes to Ashes, Gene and Alex have finally cornered a very nasty character. Gene procedes to read him his rights, but being Gene, does his own version: "Anything you say will be taken down, ripped up and shoved down your scrawny little throat until you choke to death! Gene Hunt, chapter 1, verse 2."
  • Episodes of A Touch of Frost have been set both before and after the 1994 changes (which introduced the "But it may harm your defence" line). Those set shortly after the change had a running joke in which Detective Inspector Frost would keep forgetting the new wording, usually having to read it out from a piece of paper in his pocket.
  • Almost always when a criminal is arrested in the long-running ITV drama The Bill.
  • Obviously, Law and Order UK.
  • Not the Nine O'Clock News did a comedic riff on this: "Anything you say will be taken down and used in evidence." The deadpan response; "No, no, not the face. Ow. Argh. Stop it, you're hurting me."
  • A detective in the Doctor Who special "Planet of the Dead" arrests the companion du jour by saying "You do not have to say anything, et cetera, et cetera...". Made moot by the fact the Doctor frees her, but Doctor Who Magazine pointed out the arrest could be invalidated in the issue after its transmission.

Newspaper Comics

  • A strip of The Perishers had a crab being arrested and told "anything you say will be taken down" to which he quickly designated a person and an item of clothing.


"You have the right to remain silent, but I wouldn't encourage you to do so. Anything you say will be taken down, altered to my satisfaction and used in a court of law to send you down for a good many years."

  • In an episode of Elephants To Catch Eels, smuggler Tamsyn Trelawney and customs officer Captain Marriot have swapped places for a charity event. Upon apprehending Marriot, Tamsyn informs him that "Anything you do say will be drowned out by the sound of us laughing"