The Garrity rights, Garrity rule or Garrity warning is a
protection that is utilized by many law enforcement officers each year.
Simply, Garrity is an invocation that may be made by an officer being
questioned regarding actions that may result in criminal prosecution.
The Garrity rule goes by several different names including the Garrity Right,
the Garrity Law, the Garrity Rule, the Garrity Advisement and the
Police & Fire
By invoking the Garrity rule, the officer is invoking his or her right
against self incrimination. Any statements made after invoking Garrity,
may only be used for department investigation purposes and not for
criminal prosecution purposes. The Garrity Rule stems from the court
case Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967), which was decided in
1966 by the United States Supreme Court. It was a traffic ticket fixing
case of all things.
Officers were advised that they had to answer questions subjecting them
to criminal prosecution or lose their jobs. The Court held that this was
Technically, there are two prongs under the Garrity rights. First, if an officer is
compelled to answer questions as a condition of employment, the
officer's answers and the fruits of those answers may not be used
against the officer in a subsequent criminal prosecution. Second, the
department becomes limited as to what they may ask. Such questions must
be specifically, narrowly, and directly tailored to the officer's job.
Thus, the basic thrust of the Garrity Rights or Garrity Rule is that a department member
may be compelled to give statements under threat of discipline or
discharge but those statements may not be used in the criminal
prosecution of the individual officer. This means that the Garrity Rule
only protects a department member from criminal prosecution based upon
statements he or she might make under threat of discipline or discharge.
Also, the Garrity Rule is not automatically triggered simply because
questioning is taking place. The officer must announce that he or she
wants the protections under Garrity. The above statement should be
prepared in writing, and the officer should obtain a copy of it. If a
written statement is being taken from an officer, the officer should
insist that the Garrity Warning actually be typed in the
statement. Consult your attorney and union delegate for the laws
regarding Garrity in your state before providing any statement.
Below is the actual Garrity Warning:
I am being questioned as part of an investigation by this agency into
potential violations of department
rules and regulations, or for my fitness for duty. This investigation
I have invoked my Miranda rights on the grounds that I might incriminate
myself in a criminal matter.
I have been granted use immunity. No answer given by me, nor
evidence derived from the answer, may
be used against me in any criminal proceeding, except for perjury or
I understand that I must now answer questions specifically, directly and
narrowly related to the performance
of my official duties or my fitness for office.
If I refuse to answer, I may be subject to discipline for that refusal
which can result in my dismissal from
Anything I say may be used against me in any subsequent department
I have the right to consult with a representative of my collective
bargaining unit, or another
representative of my choice, and have him or her present during the
Prosecutor/Deputy Attorney General Authorizing:
These are sometimes referred to as the