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When must police read Miranda rights?

At this point in American history, most people have at least a passing understanding of their Miranda rights because of how frequently television and movies portray a police officer arresting a suspect and issuing a Miranda warning. However, may people still do not understand when their Miranda rights apply and when a police officer must read a suspect his or her rights.

In general, anything that a person says to a police officer may count as evidence against that person. While a person may have the legal right to remain silent other than giving an officer his or her name and identification, many people give officers more information than they have to, simply because they assume the officer is only casually speaking with them and not gathering information.

An officer must read a suspect his or her Miranda rights if the suspect is both in custody and under interrogation. If a suspect is not yet in custody, then an officer may ask many questions and possibly receive incriminating answers before reading the suspect the Miranda rights. If a person is not sure if they are in custody, he or she may simply ask if they are free to go or if they are in custody. Once an officer begins asking questions that could incriminate a suspect, it is an interrogation.

If you believe that a police officer violated your rights or did not properly inform you of your rights at the appropriate time, you may have grounds to challenge charges issued after the interaction. An experienced attorney can help you identify strong strategies you can use to protect yourself and your freedoms.

Source: FindLaw, "Miranda Warnings and Police Questioning," accessed Feb. 09, 2018

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