Many people have the assumption that if they are arrested and the police do not “read them their rights,” they can walk away from the charge without being punished. However, this is a myth perpetuated by popular culture. The truth is, if a suspect is never read their Miranda rights, the prosecutors will be unable to use what the suspect says as evidence against them at trial. In this blog, we explain what you need to know about your Miranda rights.
What Are My Miranda Rights?
Officers are required to inform you about certain facts after you have been arrested and before questioning you. If an officer plans to interrogate you, they must first read you a statement saying:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Whatever you say can be used against you in court
- You have the right to have an attorney with you when being questioned
- A lawyer will be appointed to you if you are unable to afford one yourself
When is the Miranda Warning Required?
Whenever a person is in police custody, they must be read their Miranda rights if an interrogation is to take place. However, if a person isn’t in police custody, a Miranda warning isn’t necessary and anything the person says can be used against them later in court. In fact, police will sometimes postpone arresting someone just so they can get a suspect to make an incriminating statement that they can use as evidence to charge them with a crime.
What About Pre-Arrest & Post Arrest Questioning?
You are probably asking yourself: “Do I have to respond to police questions if I haven't been arrested yet?” In general, no, you do not have to answer an officer’s questions. Police cannot arrest a person just because they do not respond to questions. However, there are situations where you might be required to provide information to identify yourself.
Experienced defense attorneys suggest to keep your lips sealed if you are questioned after an arrest. Don’t speak until you are able to consult with an attorney. One of the biggest mistakes commonly made by suspects is that they unknowingly reveal information that can later be used to convict them.
It is important to note that that just because an arresting officer doesn’t read you your Miranda rights, it does not necessarily mean they are attempting to coerce a statement or confession out of you. If you can prove that they did coerce a statement from you, what you said to them will be inadmissible in court.
If you have been arrested without being told your Miranda rights, you should speak to a skilled criminal defense attorney talk about how to fight the charges against you. Our legal team can assess your situation and build a legal strategy that will protect your rights.
Call (781) 332-4344 to speak to our Quincy criminal defense lawyer about your case today.