Ask any criminal defense attorney and they will tell you that one of the most common questions they get asked is “if the cops didn’t read me my rights, my case will be thrown out, right?”
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked this; and no matter how many times I answer this question, every client seems surprised when I tell them, “not necessarily.”
Many clients believe that they can beat their case because the cop did not read them their Miranda rights. Despite what Hollywood would have many people believe, this is a myth. In fact, in my experience this is one of the most pervasive myths in the criminal justice system. The reality is that in real life, a cop doesn’t routinely “read you your rights” when he arrests you. Why? Because it is neither required nor necessary in most cases.
The truth is, 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. In some cases, this analysis is easy. Imagine the stereotypical scene that we’ve all seen in movies countless times before: a person gets arrested, the person is transported to a police station, and he is placed into an interrogation room. In this instance, it is easy to see that the person has been arrested and is being questioned about a crime.