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Must the police read you your Miranda rights?

One of the most commonly missed understood areas of the justice system for the average Tennessee citizen is criminal law. Most people are aware of the fact that they have Miranda rights. However, not many of them understand just when these rights are to be read to them.

What are Miranda rights?

Criminal law defines Miranda rights as a legal warning of a person’s rights after being arrested by the police. These include the right to remain silent and the right to consult an attorney. Most people have seen these rights being read to people in television shows or movies.

When must your Miranda rights be read to you?

Contrary to popular belief, the police do not always have to read you your Miranda rights if they’re just questioning you. They only have to read you these rights when they take you into custody. As soon as you’re being taken into custody, the police officer must read you these rights and ensure that you understand them.

Where the confusion lies is that police can question people without reading them any of their Miranda rights. Unfortunately, many people falsely believe that if they give information to the police that could incriminate them when being questioned, the information can’t be used against them in a court of law. The reality is that as long as you’re not being taken into custody and the police are just questioning you, anything you do say to them can be used against you in a court of law regardless of whether you’ve been read your rights.

Most citizens can tell you that they have certain rights when interacting with police. However, it’s important to realize that these rights only have to be read to you by the police when they are taking you into custody. Any other time that the police talk to you, they do not have to inform you of these rights. If you have questions about protecting your rights, you may want to ask a criminal defense attorney.


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Practicing in Bartlett Since 1977

Attorney Jeffrey H. Jones is held in high regard among peers, clients and judges throughout the Memphis area.

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