When Do the Police Have to Read You Your Rights?

Over the years, I have discovered that there is a great deal of confusion regarding when the police are required to advise a person of their Miranda (or Constitutional) rights before speaking with them.  There seems to be a general belief amongst non-lawyers that before the police ever talk to you (other than during a traffic stop) they must advise you of your rights. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case.


Custodial Versus Noncustodial Statements

Only when a person is actually in custody do the police have to read the Miranda warnings to him.  The police can be absolutely certain that they will arrest the defendant at a future date or time, but as long as he is not actually under arrest they do not have to Mirandize the person before speaking with him. Often, however, the police will advise a suspect of their rights out of an abundance of caution.  If a person is asked to go to police headquarters and give a statement, detectives are not required to get a waiver of rights before talking with him. However, if a person is arrested on a charge then brought to headquarters for a statement the detectives must obtain the waiver before speaking with the defendant about the charges.

 Defenses Still Available to Keep a Confession Out

It is important to note that even if a right’s waiver is not required, the police do not have the right to promise a defendant/suspect that he will receive lighter punishment if he cooperates and talks in order to induce a confession. In other words, a confession can still be thrown out of court even if Miranda warnings were not required.


If you have been arrested or have questions or concerns about a statement to police, give me a call at 404-474-2531 for a free and confidential consultation.

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