What If They Didn't "Read You Your Rights"?

“Your rights” are what are commonly known as Miranda Warnings, named after a supreme court case, Miranda v. Arizona. If a person is in custody and interrogated by or on behalf of law enforcement, this is known as a custodial interrogation. Custody is many things, but it is obviously when you have been arrested. Interrogation is many things, but it is clearly when an officer asks you to give information about what happened. If an officer wants to conduct a custodial interrogation, you must be informed of your Miranda Rights. You should be told that you have the right to remain silent, that anything you say may be used against you in court, and, that you have a right to an attorney who will be appointed if you can’t afford one. In other words, the supreme court is essentially telling you: don’t talk to the police or it will be used to convict you. You should get an attorney before you talk to anyone. This is great advice and you should follow it.

The police do not have to read you your rights if they do not question you or do not seek to use any statement against you. The police do not need to read you your rights just because you are arrested. There is no consequence to your case unless you are subjected to a custodial interrogation and talk without having been read your rights. Then the remedy would be to suppress your statements. This does not mean the case will be dismissed, unless there is no other evidence to support the charge. Finally, be aware. There are many circumstances, including a consensual encounter or a brief investigatory temporary detention, where what you say may be used against you even if Miranda wasn’t read. The best policy is to not to say anything until you talk to your lawyer.

Categories: Criminal Law, Articles, FAQ