Jonesboro Attorneys

Common Myths About Miranda Rights

The Supreme Court decision inMiranda v. Arizona in 1966 set the precedent requiring law enforcement to inform any person taken into custody of their legal rights. Most people know a few of these rights, such as “You have the right to remain silent,” “You have the right to an attorney,” and “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” However, the exact details of how these warnings must be given is often misconstrued and general misinformation has led to a number of urban myths regarding these rights. Our Jonesboro criminal defense lawyers take a look at a few of them in this blog.

Myth #1: I am In Custody if I am not “Free to Leave”

The legal decision of California v. Beheler (1983) set the standard for “custody” to be legally defined as “Formal arrest, or restraint of freedom of movement of the degree associated with formal arrest.” Essentially what this translates to is, the extent of your ability to move constitutes whether or not you are under arrest. This is important because all persons deemed to be in custody must be read their Miranda rights before they can be questioned or interrogated.

A person who is not “free to leave” the police station because they are being questioned about a serious crime is technically considered in “custody” due to the restraint. However, if you are detained at a traffic or pedestrian stop, you may not be “free to leave,” but you are not under arrest or in any form of custody. Therefore, if you are arrested and taken to the police station, you will likely need to be read your rights, but a pedestrian stop or traffic stop does not require this action.

Myth #2: My Rights Must Be Read to Me Immediately Upon Arrest

This only happens on television and in movies. You can be arrested, transported to a law enforcement station, and even detained for a significant amount of time before your rights are read to you – and this is completely legal. Miranda rights must only be read “prior to any questioning.” If law enforcement begins questioning you immediately after your arrest, right at the scene, then they must read you your rights on the spot before they begin to do so; however this is exceedingly rare. Unless law enforcement wishes to begin questioning you following your arrest, they are not required to read you your rights.

Myth #3: I Must Be Asked If I Wish to Speak With a Lawyer

Once again, you might see this occasionally in movies, but this is in no way required by law, and will rarely, if ever happen. Law enforcement are free to take any answers you may give them after reading you your rights, and not having a lawyer present may cause you to make a statement they can use against you in court. However, you in turn have the “Right to remain silent” and refuse to answer any of their questions until you have an attorney present. In this instance, you will be allowed to reach out to them, and likewise if you cannot afford one, you can request the services of a public defender to represent you and be present at your questioning.

The Law Office of Paul Ford is a Jonesboro criminal defense law firm that has successfully defended numerous clients from a wide range of criminal charges. We view our law practice in a manner similar to that of the police: it is our job to protect citizens from the harshness of the legal system to the best of our ability. We get to know all of our clients personally and put their best interests first in order to minimize the impact a legal case can have on their lives and their loved ones.

Contact The Law Office of Paul Ford online today or call our Jonesboro criminal defense attorneys at (870) 853-3621 and request a consultation with our skilled team of professionals.