Few people ever have to go through the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, the people that are arrested and interrogated may face some serious consequences if they don’t play their cards right. Movies have created a lot of misconceptions that can get people into trouble. Some myths created about Miranda rights are among the biggest problems.
The Sad Truth About Miranda Rights
You may seen crime shows where criminals have been released because the officers forgot to read them their Miranda rights. Many people mistakenly believe that if they are arrested and the officer forgets to follow this ritual, then they will be able to walk away from the charges. They may also believe that if they say anything incriminating before the reading is made, then they can walk away. This is always a mistake, so consult with a criminal justice attorney before ever speaking to a police officer.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case at all. Here are a couple of myths about Miranda rights that you must be aware of.
Myth 1 – “Nothing I say can be used against me if my rights weren’t read to me.
The truth is that a police officer is legally only required to read you your rights if they are questioning you after you are taken into police custody. A police officer can question you rigorously without making an arrest and anything that you say can be used against you.
Myth 2 – “An arrest is illegal if my rights aren’t read.”
A police officer still doesn’t need to read you your rights if you are taken into custody. If they aren’t planning to ask you any questions, then they are under no such obligation.
Myth 3 – “If a police officer questions me after taking me into custody without reading me my rights, then I can say whatever I please without repercussions.”
This is probably the biggest misconception of all, but there are some instances where even this isn’t the case. There are a couple of exceptions to the Miranda rule. A police officer isn’t obligated to read your rights if they are questioning you during an emergency. They also don’t need to read your rights for some booking questions as stated in this article on Nolo. They can even question you about potentially incriminating information such as gang affiliation (this is a routine question since it impacts housing rules in jail), current use of alcohol or possession of any weapons.
Do Not Count on a Miranda Technicality
If you have been arrested, then you shouldn’t count on a Miranda technicality to avoid charges. Police officers are trained to follow the book carefully, so it is unlikely that they would make a blatantly obvious mistake that could get someone off. You should always speak with a criminal justice lawyer and never answer any questions before he arrives.