We’ve all seen it. I mean, some of us don’t even like Law and Order or Criminal Minds. But sooner or later, we all seem to find that an episode is on in the background. And after a few minutes we’re hooked by the plot and we’re on the edge of our seats, glued to the TV screen.
We wonder if Detective Stabler can concentrate on the case even though his personal life is spinning out of control. We cheer for him when he makes a breakthrough in the case he’s working on. And we groan when he blows the interrogation by working himself into a rage. And then, at the end of the episode we’re relieved as Stabler smugly puts the suspect in handcuffs. Then, the shot zooms out to reveal the city. Stabler’s voice can be heard, “you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…”
Ah, the Miranda rights. You’ve heard them in every crime show you’ve ever seen. Somewhere along the way – probably due to these crime shows – we’ve gotten it into our heads that unless an officer reads the Miranda rights when a suspect is being arrested, the case is invalid. But, as it turns out, this is actually a complete myth. An arrest is not thrown out of court due to lack of Miranda rights. To learn the truth about the Miranda rights, read on.
As you probably know, the Miranda rights are basically a warning. They are given to suspects informing them of the rights that they have as an American citizen. However, it is a common misconception that Miranda rights have to be given to a suspect during arrest. Instead, the Miranda rights are actually meant to be given to suspects once they are in police custody. This should happen before the police interrogate them. The original intent of the Miranda rights was to keep suspects from being coerced into making confessions. Also, that they are not subject to police abuse.
Miranda rights can be read when a suspect is being arrested, but they should also be read before an interrogation. If a police officer does not read Miranda rights during arrest, the arrest is still valid. However, if a police officer doesn’t read the Miranda rights before interrogation, any statements made during the interrogation can be thrown out of court.
If you find yourself in a situation where the police are trying to interrogate you, whether they read you your rights or not, you can invoke them. Simply tell the police officer that you are choosing to remain silent and you want to speak to a lawyer before you answer any questions. This will ensure that your rights are protected.