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Answers to Common Questions About Arrests and Interrogations

June 20, 2022

An arrest or interrogation by the police can be a frightening, overwhelming experience. Still, it’s important to be well-versed in your legal rights during these proceedings, so you can leverage these rights later to protect yourself from false charges or unintentional incrimination. Read on to discover the answers to your top questions about arrests and interrogations. 

Do the police have to read me my rights if I am arrested? 

Technically, the police do not have to read you your rights if you are arrested. However, if they decide to question you and have not read you your rights, nothing you can say can be used against you in a court of law. These rights, known as the Miranda rights, include the following maxims: 

-You have the right to remain silent. 

-Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.

-You have the right to an attorney, and to have that attorney present during any police questioning. 

-If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you. 

-If you choose to talk to the police, you can stop the interview at any time. 

These rights apply to any questioning that happens anywhere, at any time. If the police want to use anything you say in a court case, they absolutely must read you your Miranda rights. It doesn’t matter whether you are arrested in the middle of a street, in your home, or even in a grocery store. 

However, it’s essential to note that the Miranda rights decree doesn’t apply if you are not in police custody. For example, if a police officer casually walks up to you on the street and simply asks you a question, they do not have to read you your rights in order to use your statement as evidence. If you are ever questioned by the police after being taken into custody, ensure that they have read you your rights. Additionally, you should always decline to speak to law enforcement officers until your attorney is present, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. 

Can my case be thrown out if the police didn’t read me my rights?

Contrary to popular belief, a case will not usually be thrown out of court if the defendant was not read their Miranda rights. All this means is that the police and the prosecution cannot use any of your spoken testimony as evidence. It may be harder for the prosecution to build a case against you if you were not given a Miranda warning, but your case can still be tried, and you will still need the legal expertise of an experienced attorney to best defend yourself against any charges. 

What should I do if I am being questioned by the police?

If you are under arrest, you should always refuse to speak to the police until your attorney is present. To avoid saying something you may regret later, you should invoke your right to remain silent by saying one of the following phrases: 

-”I am claiming my Miranda rights.”

-”I refuse to speak with you until my attorney is present.” 

-“I invoke my privilege against self-incrimination.”

If you do not invoke your right to remain silent, the police can still badger you with questions, which can lead many people to start talking out of frustration. Always verbally affirm your right to remain silent. Once you do, the police legally cannot ask you any more questions. 

Should I talk to the police even if I have done nothing wrong?

In general, you should not talk to the police, even if you have not committed a crime. Once your Miranda rights are read, literally anything you say can be used against you in a court case. If you simply deny everything and the prosecution can prove that you were lying about even a small fraction of your testimony, your case could be compromised. Even if the police act friendly and try to wheedle you into speaking, it’s best to wait for an attorney who can advise you on the best ways to conduct yourself in front of law enforcement officers. No matter what the police say, remember that you can always invoke your right to remain silent. 

Contact Janet Altschuler Today

Janet Altschuler has been helping the residents of Tucson, AZ navigate arrests and interrogations for over twenty years. For your convenience, Janet Altschuler can be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To schedule a free consultation, you can call 520-247-1789 or 520-200-5003. 

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