Aren't police required to read me my rights? - Police Encounters - Know My Rights

Aren't police required to read me my rights?

No. If you're arrested, don't rely on police to inform you of your right to remain silent and see a lawyer. It's up to you to assert those rights. Tell them "I'm exercising my right to remain silent and I would like to see a lawyer." If police persist in questioning you, repeat those magic words. The courts have made it clear that police officers do not have to tell people that they can refuse to consent to a warrantless search. In other words, a police officer does not need to read you your rights before asking you to consent to a search. Also, despite the widespread myth to the contrary, an officer does not need to get your consent in writing. Oral consent is completely valid.

Many people believe that an officer must automatically read a person his or her Miranda rights as part of performing an arrest, either immediately before or immediately after an arrest is made. This is absolute fiction.

The truth is that the only time an officer must read a person his or her Miranda rights is when: (1) the person has been taken into custody, AND (2) the officer is about to question the person about a crime.

Police officers are often pretty tricky about trying to get someone's consent to a search. They know that most people feel intimidated by police officers and are predisposed to comply with any request the police officer may make. For example, the average motorist stopped by a police officer who asks, "Would you mind opening the trunk, please?" will probably consent to the officer's search without realizing that they have every right to deny the officer's request.


Many people believe that they can "beat the case" if the officer doesn't read them their Miranda rights during an arrest. This is a myth.

The only time an officer must read a person his or her Miranda rights is when: (1) the person has been placed under arrest, AND (2) the officer is about to question the person about a crime. For example, if you're placed under arrest after consenting to a search request and confessing to ownership of found contraband, police do not need to read you your rights unless they want to question you about an unrelated crime.

The courts have made clear that police do not have to tell you about your right to refuse searches. Also, despite the myth to the contrary, an officer does not need to get your consent in writing; oral consent is completely valid.

If you're arrested, don't rely on police to inform you of your right to remain silent and see a lawyer. Use the magic words "I'm going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer." If police persist in questioning you, repeat the magic words. The magic words are like a legal condom. They're your best protection if you're under arrest.

Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you in court. So don't try to talk yourself out of the situation, and don't make small talk with police either.