Most citizens learn that the police must read you your Miranda rights (“You have the right to remain silent…”) when you’re arrested. We learn that if this doesn’t happen, we get to go free. This scenario is possible, but don’t rely on that happening.
In fact, there are a couple of scenarios when the police don’t have to read you your Miranda Rights. This runs contrary to the common misconception that they must read them off.
These are the most common scenarios where not reading your rights is permissible:
- You’re not under arrest. Just because someone isn’t in handcuffs doesn’t mean an officer cannot ask questions. If there is a matter of public safety, an officer can ask you questions. Should an officer think you know something about an imminent danger, expect them to attempt to find what you know.
- You’re under arrest but not under interrogation. If this scenario happens, it likely means that the police don’t need to ask further questions about a possible crime. Unfortunately, this could mean they have sufficient information to proceed with the charges. Should the police decide to later interrogate you they may then read your rights.
- You’re asked for non-incriminating information. What doesn’t qualify is an officer asking intake questions because the basic information of name, address and birthdate is unlikely to be incriminating information. Police may still ask these questions when someone has invoked their right to remain silent for that reason.
You may be grateful if they don’t need to read your rights
Just as it could be a bad thing to not have your rights read, it could be a good thing because it means you’re not under arrest. If the police do need to read them, you should invoke them to the best of your interest.