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Do the Police Have to Read Me My Rights?


A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June blunted the incentive for police to read a suspect Miranda Warnings before questioning by eliminating the omission as grounds for a civil rights lawsuit.

Almost everyone is familiar with what Miranda Rights are, even if they aren’t aware of it. If you’ve ever watched a movie or television show involving an arrest, Miranda Rights are contained within the statement a police officer gives to the suspect.

That statement is typically read as follows:

“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 an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

This statement isn’t a fabrication of Hollywood, but rather the result of a 1966 SCOTUS decision. In Miranda v. Arizona, SCOTUS ruled that, before questioning, suspects must be warned of their rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

If they weren’t, then any confession or evidence obtained through an interview could be deemed inadmissible in a criminal trial and the law enforcement agency and individual police officers could be held liable in a civil lawsuit.

How Vega v. Tekoh Changed Miranda Warnings

You still have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney before police questioning, but SCOTUS ruled 6-3 in Vega v. Tekoh that officers and law enforcement agencies can no longer be held liable for damages if you aren’t read your Miranda Warnings.

Removing civil liability for failing to read a suspect these rights means that the police officers now lack a major incentive to do so. Although evidence obtained during questioning when you weren’t read your rights violates may be inadmissible in court, you won’t be able to sue for damages.

What This Can Mean for You

If you are arrested for a crime, the police may not read Miranda Warnings before questioning you. If you are in police custody, assume that anything police officers ask you can be used to incriminate you.

Invoke your right to remain silent and immediately demand legal counsel from an experienced attorney.

The Alband Law Firm Can Help

If you are accused of a crime, our attorneys at The Alband Law Firm can help. We have assisted many previous clients facing criminal charges, helping them to protect their rights and secure favorable outcomes for their legal situations.

We understand this is a stressful and frightening time. Rest assured that our competent and experienced legal counsel can have you feeling more confident about keeping the door to a brighter future open.

For more information or to request a free consultation, contact us online now.