People are under the impression that if they are arrested and not read their rights, they can have their case dismissed. That may only be partially correct. If the police fail to read a Suspect his rights, the State can't use anything the person says as evidence against them at trial. That may end up winning the case if the only evidence against them is their statements.
They are rights secured by the Fifth Amendment and confirmed in Miranda v. Arizona:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to consult with a lawyer and have that lawyer present during any questioning.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you wish.
- If you choose to talk to the police officer, you have the right to stop the interview at any time. (They don’t tell you this one)
When Miranda Warnings Come Into Play
If a person is in custody, by being deprived of freedom of action, the police must provide a Miranda warning if they want to question the suspect. Otherwise they may not be able to use the suspect's statements as evidence at trial.
If a person is not in police custody, however, no Miranda warning is required and anything the person says can be used in court. This exception comes up if the police stop someone on the street for questioning about a recent crime, or the person makes a confession before the police have an opportunity to deliver the warning.
Questioning Before Arrest
If a person hasn't yet been arrested, the police may question the person and use the answers in court without first providing the Miranda warning.
Do people have to respond to police questions if thhe hasn't been arrested? Generally, not. A police officer cannot arrest a person simply for failure to respond to questions.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right against self-incrimination and a person’s right to remain silent. A person who has reason to believe that he is a suspect should decline to answer questions, at least until after speaking to a criminal defense lawyer.