Don’t Police have to Read me my Rights?

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Many people believe that they can “beat the case” if the officer doesn’t read them their Miranda rights during an arrest. This is a myth.

The only time an officer must read a person his or her Miranda rights is when: (1) the person has been placed under arrest, AND (2) the officer is about to question the person about a crime. For example, if you’re placed under arrest after consenting to a search request and confessing to ownership of found contraband, police do not need to read you your rights unless they want to question you about an unrelated crime.

The courts have made clear that police do not have to tell you about your right to refuse searches. Also, despite the myth to the contrary, an officer does not need to get your consent in writing; oral consent is completely valid.

If you’re arrested, don’t rely on police to inform you of your right to remain silent and see a lawyer. Use the magic words ”I’m going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer.” If police persist in questioning you, repeat the magic words. The magic words are like a legal condom. They’re your best protection if you’re under arrest.

Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you in court. So don’t try to talk yourself out of the situation, and don’t make small talk with police either.

Reprinted with permission from Flex Your Rights.org.

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