The wording that a law enforcement officer typically uses while giving Miranda warnings is as follows:
"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?"
One of the most common statements made by clients, or potential clients, is that the police did not read them their Miranda rights. Contrary to popular belief, and contrary to every television/movie legal drama, the police are not required to read you your Miranda rights before asking you about your knowledge of a crime.
The police are not required to read you your Miranda rights until after you are in custody and before they question (interrogate) you about your involvement in a crime. As long as you are not in actual custody, and as long as the police are not directly questioning your involvement in the crime, they can ask you as many questions as they like.
Miranda rights stem from the legal case, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), and focuses on a person's Constitutional rights located in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. The Fifth Amendment protects someone that has been arrested from self-incrimination. The Sixth Amendment provides that a person shall have the assistance of counsel.
If you ever find yourself subject to questioning by a law enforcement officer for a recent crime, you need to understand your rights. As stated above, the officer should explain to you, "You have the right to remain silent", and we advise our clients (and potential clients) to do just that. By questioning you, the police officer is attempting to have you provide them with evidence that they will most certainly use against you at some point in the future. Law enforcement officers may employ a tactic that lures you into believing that you are doing the right thing by talking to them, and that everything will "work out", however, the officer is actually working to establish probable cause against you, which can lead to your arrest.
In 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a defendant had to explicitly state his or her desire to remain silent in order to be protected against self-incrimination. Berghuis v. Thompkins, 560 U.S. 370 (2010). If you are ever questioned by the police, regardless of whether you have been read your Miranda rights or not, you do not have to talk to them. In fact, you should simply state that you wish to remain silent and that you would like your attorney present before any more questions are asked.
If you have a question about your rights, or if law enforcement wants to interrogate you concerning your alleged involvement in a crime, call our office immediately at (615) 956-7938.