The Criminal Defense Law Center of
West Michigan

Miranda Rights

You should know what your miranda rights are!  I have had many clients that have slit their own throats (in the legal sense) by confessing to a crime.  A confession can make it harder for your defense attorney to win your case or get you the best results possible!

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

If you are under arrest, an officer must read your miranda rights to you if he is going to interrogate you!  If public safety is at risk, the officer does not have to read you your miranda rights and that evidence can be used against you.

A good informative website that deals with miranda rights can be found here.

The person arrested must answer questions about their age, address and name.  A police officer can search someone under arrest to make sure the arresting officer is safe.  Any confession made before miranda rights are read will probably make its way into court.

If you have been read your miranda rights and then waive those rights, a person under arrest can still change their mind during the interrogation and remain silent.  This is called pleading the fifth.

There are many popular misconception, based on movies, books, newspapers and television, that police officers are required and always read Miranda rights to a suspect upon arrest. The reality of this situation is that things rarely happen this way. Police officers would prefer to put suspects in a situation that encourage them to talk voluntarily. The main reason they do this is because they have a better chance at getting evidence that can be used against the suspect. They also do it in a way that does not violate Miranda. 

If there is a violation of Miranda, it can result in a court order stating that those statements cannot be used as evidence at trial. If an arresting officer violates Miranda, it does not mean the charges are going to be dismissed. If a suspect is in custody and being questioned, then the reading of Miranda rights is required.  If a suspect is being asked questions while in custody, this is called interrogation. 


The United States Supreme Court has held that if you are not free to leave a police interrogation, you are under arrest and must be advised of your Miranda rights.  Take it from a lawyer who has handled hundreds of cases, if the police are questioning you about your part in a crime, they are looking to gather evidence to arrest you. Law officers are wizards at getting a person to confess or talk without legally having to read a defendant their Miranda rights. This is one reason why we advise our clients to never talk to the police! It is not in your best interest!

Here are some of the dirty tricks police officers use to get a person to confess or talk to them without having to read a suspect their Miranda Rights.

  1. Telling a suspect that, “You are not under arrest and can leave at anytime.”
  2. Leaving the door open to their police cruiser so they can listen in to what you are saying.
  3. Telling a suspect that, “We just want to talk and get your side of the story.”
  4. Telling a suspect that, “We just want to talk. you are not in trouble.”
  5. Telling a suspect that, “We will go easy on you if you confess.”

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