If you have ever watched a police drama, you’ve probably heard what happens when a police officer finally arrests the suspect. Handcuffs are slapped on, and the officer begins with, “You have the right to remain silent,” as they read a suspect their Miranda rights. However, just how true to life is this dramatization? If you are arrested in Virginia, must you be read your Miranda rights before you can be taken into custody?
A reading isn’t required for an arrest
Multiple court rulings have found that a reading of a suspect’s Miranda rights is not required before or during an arrest. Indeed, in many circumstances, this may not be possible. Police are legally allowed to stop a person if they believe that individual participated in a crime, or may have information about a crime committed. If the person refuses to comply with police orders or is committing a crime, they may be detained, and this may be done without a police officer reading the individual in question their Miranda rights.
It is required before interrogation
The same court rulings have found that suspects who are being questioned by law enforcement must fully understand their legal rights before they are questioned. These include their right to legal counsel, their right to remain silent, and their right to not participate in any interrogation. These rights are usually communicated in the form of a Miranda warning. However, the exact use of the Miranda warning is not required; an equivalent communication that communicates the same information will suffice for legal purposes.
If you have questions about your legal rights or believe you were inappropriately questioned by law enforcement, you should connect with a lawyer. These are complicated legal questions that are best answered by those that have criminal defense legal experience.