Most people have heard the Miranda “warning” plenty of times on TV shows and in the movies, often as police are handcuffing them and taking them away. However, people aren’t always “Mirandized” at that point, and that’s not a violation of their rights.
Everyone should know when law enforcement officers are required to inform them of their Miranda rights because if that isn’t done when it needs to be, that can be used to your benefit as any criminal case against you moves forward.
Examples of when a Miranda Warning is and is not required
Essentially, you are required to be “read” your Miranda rights if you’re in custody and before you’re interrogated. If officers pull you over for suspicion of drunk driving and ask you a few questions about where you’ve been and how much you’ve had to drink, they don’t have to Mirandize you (and you don’t have to provide that information).
If they do a few roadside tests and determine you’re under the influence, put the cuffs on you and take you to the nearest jail, they still don’t have to Mirandize you if they don’t ask you further questions.
If, however, you’re arrested for allegedly being involved in a bar fight in which someone was seriously injured and put in an interrogation room, you must be read your rights before anyone can question you. At that point, you should invoke your right to legal counsel, and it must be honored before questioning begins. (If you invoke your rights after questioning starts, it must stop until you have counsel present.)
If you aren’t Mirandized at the point where it’s required, no information you provided the officers after that point (or evidence they get as a result of your answers) can be used against you. That’s why it’s important that your attorney knows how the process played out. If your rights were violated, that can work in your favor. That’s just one reason why having experienced legal guidance can make all the difference to your future.