Most Americans who speak English could more or less recite the Miranda Warning from memory because they’ve heard it so many times. It often features prominently in entertainment involving police officers or crime.
You probably know that you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, but an officer still needs to tell you about those rights in certain circumstances or risk not being able to use the information they gather in criminal court.
Most people assume because of what they have seen on television or in a movie that an officer needs to recite the Miranda Warning advising someone of their rights at the time of an arrest. Does an officer violate your rights if they take you to jail without ever reciting the Miranda Warning to you?
The warning only matters before an interrogation
Officers don’t have to advise you of your rights when they arrest you or when they transport you to jail for holding. Instead, they have an obligation to inform you of your Miranda Rights when they intend to question or interrogate you while you are under arrest.
If they charge you or release you without a formal interrogation, they might not ever read you your Miranda Rights. That omission doesn’t necessarily violate your rights if you didn’t get questioned without hearing the warning. In fact, some officers will try to get away with not warning you about your rights by questioning you before they arrest you.
What does a violation of your Miranda Rights mean?
If officers never read you your Miranda Rights and questioned you anyway or if you have a family member who didn’t receive translation services informing them of their rights, the police may have made a mistake that could affect the criminal charges.
A confession obtained from a subject under arrest but not informed of their Miranda Rights may not be admissible in court. Understanding when you need to hear your Miranda Rights can help you better determine if the police might have violated your rights.
That information could help you strategize for your defense against any pending charges brought as the result of that inappropriate or unfair questioning.