Miranda Rights. What You Need to Know

What are Miranda rights, and when are police supposed to read them? The government may be improperly using your statements as evidence against you.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Group

In real life, Miranda does not work the same in movies and TV shows.

Because of police depictions in movies and television, a popular misconception is that the police read Miranda rights to suspects upon arrest. In truth, this rarely happens. More commonly, police put people in situations and encourage them to talk voluntarily. They do this in a way that does not violate the law, and thus, they have a better chance of obtaining helpful evidence for prosecution. Many wonder, “What are Miranda rights?” or “When are police supposed to read their rights?”

A violation of Miranda can result in a court ruling that a suspect’s statement is inadmissible as evidence. A violation does not result in a dismissal of charges. The police must read these rights to a defendant in custody before questioning. If the police fail to give them their rights, the prosecutor cannot use that person’s answers as evidence against the suspect at trial. Questioning a person who is “in custody” is called interrogation. A person in custody should never have to wonder, “What are Miranda rights?”

Miranda Rights - Michigan Criminal Defense

What Are Miranda Rights?

Popularly known as the Miranda Warning (ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona), a defendant who is under arrest or “in custody” has the following rights:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • If you say anything, what 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 so desire.
  • If you choose to talk to the police officer, you have the right to stop the interview at any time.

Do cops have to read Miranda rights?

If a person is in custody, the police must read them their Miranda rights to question the suspect. Reading someone’s Miranda rights while in custody is required if they hope to use the suspect’s answers as evidence at trial. Custody doesn’t necessarily mean jail. Custody means when a person’s liberty is substantially impaired. The test is whether the person was free to leave or whether a reasonable person would have felt free to leave when questioned by law enforcement. If an ordinary person would not feel free to leave, the police must read their rights.

However, the police do not have to give Miranda rights to someone not in police custody. Anything a person says to the police while not in custody is admissible, even answers to police questions. Call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation, and we will help you determine if the police violated your rights.

When are you supposed to be read your Miranda rights?

Before questioning if you are in custody! If the police do not read Miranda rights before the custodial interrogation of someone, then the court must suppress the suspect’s statements in most circumstances. Sometimes, police officers ask a few questions and then read a suspect’s Miranda rights. Pre-Miranda questioning is a dirty tactic. Only a zealous and fearless criminal defense lawyer is qualified to stand up to the police when they’ve done something illegal and underhanded. If a suspect is left wondering, “What are Miranda rights?” while in custody, their answers to questions must be suppressed and thrown out of court.

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What Constitutional amendment contains Miranda rights?

A police officer generally cannot arrest someone solely for failure to respond to questions. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the “right of silence.” The “right to silence” means that unless a police officer has “probable cause” to make an arrest or a “reasonable suspicion” to conduct a “stop and frisk,” a person approached by the police officer has the legal right to refuse to answer questions. Indeed, a person with reason to believe they are a potential suspect should politely decline to answer questions, at least until after consulting an attorney. The best possible thing to say after the police read Miranda Rights is, “I respectfully decline to answer your questions. I invoke my right to remain silent. I am requesting an attorney.”

The right to remain silent does not protect a person who gives a false name or other incorrect information to the police. You can stay silent, but lying to the police is a crime in Michigan.

The best thing to do is decline to answer questions without a lawyer present. The police are not seeking the truth; they are building a case. Police officers and prosecutors will interpret anything you say or do as evidence of a crime, even an inadvertent expression, blink, or sign of nervousness.

Questioning After the Arrest

Never speak to the police or answer questions while under arrest, even if you’ve been given Miranda Rights. Demand that your lawyer be present during questioning.


Suspects unwittingly reveal information prosecutors use as evidence of their guilt. People often agree to cooperate with police questioning because they believe they are innocent or think it would look suspicious if they remained silent. More than half of the criminal cases charged in Michigan would probably disappear if people maintained their silence and asked for a lawyer. Remember, the police are looking to build a case and likely interpret anything a suspect says or does as evidence of guilt. Even without an inculpatory statement, police often look for minor inconsistencies or minor errors in facts, which they can then use to show that a person was “dishonest.” Worse yet, police will say that a person was nervous when answering questions and appeared dishonest or deceptive when everything else fails. The bottom line is that talking with the police ALWAYS works out poorly for the suspect.

Consequences of Failure to Provide Miranda Warning

Without a sufficient warning, prosecutors cannot use your answers to police questions as evidence against the person at their trial. Any answers to custodial interrogation without Miranda are subject to suppression. A violation does not automatically result in the dismissal of charges. The prosecution can still proceed without the defendant’s statement if the government has enough evidence to proceed to trial.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

A Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney will help when constitutional issues need to be evaluated and assessed.

When someone faces felony or misdemeanor charges, and the police might have violated their rights, it is imperative to employ a criminal defense attorney with experience and knowledge in constitutional law issues. It is best to work with someone with a track record of winning arguments to suppress evidence. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of legal experience in criminal and constitutional law. We are not afraid to stand up and fight for your rights! When the police fail to give a suspect their Miranda Rights, we fight to get charges dismissed! Call us for a free consultation today.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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