Few elements of the law enforcement process have as much notoriety as Miranda rights. The rise of police procedural dramas on television gave way to the Miranda warning’s widespread recognition. Unfortunately, this mainstream usage and the lack of widespread formal understanding have led to a number of misconceptions.
There are some facts that everyone should understand about common Miranda rights myths.
Custody is specific, not subjective
One common misconception is that any kind of questioning from the police equates to custodial interrogation if you are the suspect or a person of interest in a case. Similarly, people assume that someone detained at a traffic stop or stopped on the sidewalk for questioning is in custody. Detainment or questioning in these situations does not constitute custody. Custody applies if you are under arrest or not free to leave the police station.
Recitation only has to happen before your interrogation
Modern entertainment television created a widespread misconception that police must recite your Miranda rights at the time of your arrest. The officer must inform you of your rights before interrogation, not during your arrest.
Failure to read your rights does not create inadmissibility
You might assume that failure to read your rights could make certain statements inadmissible in court under the same doctrines as evidence found by an illegal search. That doctrine does not apply to Miranda warnings so any statements may still be admissible.
Understanding the facts helps you protect your rights in the event of an arrest. Learn and exercise your rights if you face charges.