When Do the Police Have to Read Me My Rights?

Because of what people have seen in the movies or on television, many of us think that the police always have to read you your rights when you are under arrest or detained. This is not always the case. Your rights refer to your “Miranda” rights which are: “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 speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during questioning.”

These rights as you can see refer to questioning by the police and statements that you may make. The police only have to read you your rights when you are in custody and being questioned. They cannot question you if you are not free to leave without first reading you the rights referred to above.

You should never speak to the police without consulting an attorney first. If you have spoken to them about your case without an attorney present its important that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to determine whether the police properly read you your rights and if you were in their custody when you made your statements. If the police did not follow the correct procedures, any statement that you made may be suppressed or thrown out when your case goes to court.

Written by

Ray Lopez has practiced since 1990, with prior experience as a Hillsborough County assistant State attorney and lawyer for the Tampa Police Department. He handles all criminal charges, from traffic violations and misdemeanors to serious felonies and federal drug charges. He practices in all state and federal courts of the Tampa Bay area and throughout Florida, as well as criminal appeals, juvenile court, administrative hearings, and civil forfeiture proceedings.

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