If you’re arrested on suspicion of committing or planning a crime, don’t try to talk yourself out of the situation and don’t make small talk with the police.
That’s because anything you say in the company of the police can and will be used against you in court.
Don’t count on the police to help you in understanding your Miranda rights, such as the right to see a lawyer if arrested, according to the nonprofit legal education website Flex Your Rights.
Because television is not reality and police are not always required under the law to read you your Miranda rights, just remember to tell the police this:
“I’m going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer.”
The rights that police read are known as the Miranda warning. That stems from the Supreme Court ruling in Miranda v. Arizona in 1966 that said police must inform a criminal defendant of his or her constitutional right to an attorney and against self-incrimination. Miranda is required only in instances where police take a person into custody and want to ask the detainee questions, however.
The key is “custody,” and most police interactions are not custodial.
Can I waive my rights after they have already been read to me?
Police will offer you the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. You can waive these rights and speak freely with police. If you have been Mirandized and you waive these rights, you can change your mind at any time and “plead the Fifth.” That means you no longer wish to answer questions and wish to have an attorney present after all.
To “plead the Fifth” is a reference to the protections established in the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment that lets a person invoke the right to not self-incriminate.
If I'm arrested and police fail to read me my rights, will my charges automatically be dismissed?
Maybe. If you are arrested and the officer failed to read you the Miranda warning, your lawyer is likely to seize on this lapse to try to get charges dropped. If overwhelming evidence exists that you committed a crime, however, there’s a good possibility your conviction stands.
A police officer stopped me and asked me questions, but did not read me my Miranda rights. Is this legal?
A police officer can ask you questions and you have the right to politely decline to answer.
If the officer asks to see your driver’s license or proof of insurance, you cannot refuse. That’s because when you sign the forms for accepting a driver’s license, you are giving police permission to ask you for these documents upon request.
A police officer is required to read you the Miranda warning only if he or she plans to use your answers as evidence at a trial. So, in many cases, you can be stopped and asked questions without being read those rights.
It helps to remember that police can maneuver. If you decline to answer questions, police can decide to arrest you for breaking the law in another area, such as loitering, which is a law that can be interpreted broadly.
I was asked to go to the police station to answer questions, but I don’t want to. No one read me my Miranda warning — do I have to go?
You can decline but if the police want to talk to you, they can cite “probable cause” and either arrest you or get a search warrant, if they feel you are in possession of evidence related to a crime.
Contact Aguilar & Sieron Attorneys At Law today in Florida for help in understanding your Miranda rights.