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Do police have to read me my Miranda Rights?

Quick Answer—No, not necessarily

It is fair to say that when an individual is asking this question,—does an officer have to read me my Miranda rights?—they are doing so at place or at a point in time that is very stressful. For example, someone is driving home after having a few drinks with co-workers and they unexpectedly see red and blue lights. Many questions are going through that person's mind including, how much, exactly, have I had to drink? Why did the officer pull me over? Does he have to read me my rights? What happens if he does not? To be sure, this question is complicated and has many layers.

When Police Probably May Not Read Your Miranda Rights

There are certain times when an officer is likely to read someone their Miranda rights. If an officer is conducting a routine traffic stop, they are not necessarily going to read an individual his or her Miranda rights because there is no real reason to do so. They are simply issuing a ticket or a citation and moving on. Officers, particularly those working the routine road patrol, do not necessarily advise individuals they stop of their constitutional rights and do not have to.  While it is possible, the likelihood that an officer will have to appear in court for a ticket or an infraction is generally lower than in circumstances involving a criminal investigation or criminal charges in a criminal court. Very often, if they do not suspect any crime, they are interested in issuing a ticket or a warning and getting back on the road to continue patrolling.

When Police Will Most Likely Read You Your Miranda Rights

Let’s take a look at one possible scenario, however, when they might take the time to do so. If the officer suspects that a crime has occurred or is occurring, they are more likely to read someone their rights. For example, if an officer stops someone for speeding, but then smells alcohol or marijuana, they may be more inclined to read an individual their Miranda rights because their focus has shifted from a traffic stop to a criminal investigation. If the State of Indiana wants to admit certain statements made by a suspect into evidence at a trial, The State and officers have obligations both under the United States Constitution and the Indiana Constitution. Both constitutions afford rights to individuals as it relates to criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Officers and deputy prosecutors who regularly deal with these circumstances have experience in this area.  Officers understand that they may be called to testify at a hearing or at trial and testify as to whether they advised an individual of their Miranda rights or testify as to whether that advisement was done correctional or in accordance with the law.  If an advisement is not given or done correctly, it is possible that certain evidence or statements may be excluded by the judge hearing the case. 

However, an individual who does not know the law or rarely encounters a law enforcement officer may not know whether the advisement they are being given is being given correctly or in accordance with the federal or state constitutions. It is important for individuals who are involved in the system to have a criminal defense attorney who understands and has experience in this area as well.

If you have questions about whether your constitutional rights were violated call our firm at 1-800-NOT-GUILTY or (317) 857-0160. We stand ready to provide our clients with trusted representation and accurate information regarding the law and its application to their individualized case.