If you find yourself facing criminal charges, your attorney may ask you to recount what happened with the police. One of the things they are looking to see is whether the police read you your Miranda rights. These are the warnings that you’ll see TV cops give every time they make an arrest.
They inform you that you have the right to remain silent, and anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. They also tell you of your right to a lawyer and that one will be provided if you cannot afford to hire one. But why does this matter?
If the police did not read you your Miranda rights, you may be able to use this fact to have the court dismiss any evidence gathered during questioning.
The police only need to do so in specific circumstances
A police officer does not always need to read you the Miranda rights, which is one of the reasons they sometimes don’t (other than because they just forget).
The law only requires them to do so once you are in custody, and even then, only before they start questioning you. So, if you tell them something before they even arrest you, you cannot later claim they should have read your rights first. Equally, if you drop something into the conversation with an officer who comes to collect you from your cell to take you for questioning, then the court will likely allow the prosecution to use that evidence in court.
Dealing with the police can be disorientating, so it is wise to get legal help to protect your rights at the first sign you are in trouble.