So you saw someone get arrested and the police did not read them the Miranda rights; you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can, and will, be used against you in a court of law, you have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney … you know the rest.
The police always read the suspect their rights, right?
There is no law stating law enforcement officers must read the Miranda rights when they make an arrest.
So why do they do it?
It is not about the arrest. It is about interrogation!
The police have questions for the suspect, and they are very interested in repeating his answers in front of a jury. They think he might make an admission, a confession, or inconsistent statements.
Constitutional law requires certain warnings be given in certain interrogation situations. This is where it gets complicated and a lawyer is a must.
- Was the suspect in custody?
- Was the suspect in a situation that was like being in custody?
- Were the rights read correctly?
- Did the suspect understand what was read?
- Did the suspect clearly waive his rights and make a statement?
- Were the questions for the purpose of interrogation or some other purpose?
- How much time elapsed between the reading of the rights and the statement that the police now want to repeat in court?
- What questions and admissions happened before the reading of the rights?
- Was the suspect’s statement responsive to the questions or was it volunteered information.
- And countless other factors
There are too many examples of legal issues to list them all here. So we will keep it simple.
When you think about the reading of the rights, think about interrogation, statements made by the suspect, and any evidence derived from those statements.
Oh, and if you are the suspect, call a lawyer. You do not want to get this wrong.