What Happens if Police Officers Do Not Read You Your Rights?
Many people have a misconception that if they are arrested, but are not read their rights, they are able to escape any penalties that would arise from their alleged crimes. However, this is not often the case. If police fail to read you the Miranda rights, all that happens is the prosecutor would be unable to use your statements as evidence against you which resulted from police questioning. This is, of course, a big deal and could work in your favor during your case, but it does not preclude you from punishment.
Just for the sake of clarity, the following are your Miranda rights:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Anything you do say can be used against you in the court of law
- You have the right to have a lawyer present whenever you are questioned
- If you are unable to afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you
When are officers required to read Miranda rights?
Police must read suspects their Miranda rights any time they have someone in custody and want to ask that person questions and use the answers to those questions as evidence in criminal proceedings.
However, if officers have not taken you into custody, they do not have to read you these rights. Anything you say to law enforcement officer while not in custody is admissible as evidence against you. Therefore, many officers try to get as much information as they can out of suspects without arresting them. Once they have all the incriminating information they need, they can then make the arrest.
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to be silent when answering police officers’ questions while under suspicion in a criminal investigation. You do not have to respond to these questions and officers cannot arrest you simply for refusing to answer.
The U.S. Constitution and state and federal provides you with numerous rights when suspected or charged with a crime. For further information and guidance, work with skilled Berks County criminal defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.