Common Myths Associated With Miranda Rights

The Miranda warnings, or Miranda rights, were created in 1966 after Ernesto Miranda turned himself into the police and was not informed by officers he had the right to not incriminate himself or the right to contact an attorney. Chances are that you have heard the term Miranda rights on television or in film or you are familiar with the phrase because of your own experiences with police.

Miranda rights are very misunderstood, and it's probable that a lot of the information you've heard about them are based on misconceptions. Here are a few common myths about Miranda rights that you shouldn't believe.

Myth: If the Police Don't Read My Miranda Rights I Can't Be Convicted

An officer is legally obligated to read a suspect their Miranda rights if they are in custody. This means the suspect has been formally arrested and charged with a crime. However, if the police do not have enough proof or if a suspect is a person of interest, they are brought to the station for questioning, questioned at the scene of the crime, or questioned in their own home.

If you are not in custody, you do not have to be read your Miranda rights. This is because a suspect who is in custody is free to leave when they want. If you ever find yourself in this situation, it's important that you know you are not obligated to answer any questions, that you have the right to bring an attorney, and that anything you say can be used if you are ever formally charged.

Unfortunately, if the court determines you were being questioned and not charged with a crime and you provide incriminating details, you are not under the protections afforded by Miranda rights. Your attorney cannot use this as a defense, and if you say something incriminating, you may be convicted of a crime based on what you said during questioning.

Myth: The Police Are Required to Ask Me If I Want A Lawyer

After you are placed under arrest, your Miranda rights kick in and you can hire an attorney. As the rights state, if you can't pay for an attorney, the state must provide you one free of charge. However, if you're waiting patiently for the police to tell you it's time to contact an attorney after you are arrested and have been read your rights, you can ask for an attorney at any point.

Never wait for the police to give you permission to contact an attorney. Instead, ask for one immediately and do not speak with the police until you have legal representation.

Myth: Once I Waive My Miranda Rights I Can't Ask for an Attorney

Depending on the person or the nature of the crime, some suspects decide to wave their Miranda rights, which means they don't have to wait for an attorney before they start asking questions and anything that is said during the interrogation is admissible in court. It is the right of any defendant to change their mind during any part of their interrogation and ask for an attorney.

A defendant is afforded this protection at any point in the interrogation, and if you ever find yourself in this situation and have waived your Miranda rights, it's important to note that you can ask for the protections afforded by them, which means the ability to contact your attorney.

The Supreme Court determined that once an individual is arrested or in custody, the police must read them their Miranda rights, which includes the right to not say anything incriminating or to call an attorney right away. Understanding the myths associated with Miranda rights will help you protect yourself if you are ever placed under arrest.

For more information on your Miranda rights, get in touch with a criminal defense attorney.