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50 Years of Miranda Rights and Myths

Posted by Dan Kann | Nov 07, 2016 | 0 Comments

We have all heard it used in a movie or weekly T.V. cop show.  The bad guy is being arrested and the officer reads him his Miranda rights:

“You have the right to remain silent[1]. 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?”

Miranda rights are 50 years old as of this summer.  Mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966 in the case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US. 436 (1966), Miranda warnings were intended to protect a suspect's 5th Amendment[2] right to avoid self-incrimination during an interrogation. But their common use in movies and on T.V. creates more than a few myths including:

  1. Arrests Without Miranda:  Even though actors in movies read Miranda warnings as soon as they place the bad guy under arrest, in real life, the police are not required to read Miranda rights with every arrest. The warnings themselves are designed to protect you from self-incrimination, so unless the police intend to interrogate you under custody, you can be arrested and then be provided with Miranda warnings at a later time.  (California v. Beheler, 463 U.S. 1121 (1983)).
  2. Case Dismissals:  In the movies, the case against the burglar or murderer is dismissed if the on screen police did not read Miranda rights. It makes for a great plot line. But does that happen in real life cases? Not always. If the police arrested you but did not interrogate you, no Miranda warnings were necessary and the case against you proceeds. In those instances, where the police questioned you but failed to read you Miranda warnings, the case may still proceed depending on what information was obtained by the police both before and after the interview.  Only an experienced criminal defense attorney can look at the specifics of your case and determine if there is a basis for seeking an exclusion of evidence obtained from the interview or to request a dismissal of the charges brought against you.  
  3. Written Waiver:  On at least one popular police show, the detectives give the bad guy in custody a written Miranda waiver for them to sign. In the real world, however, the police do not have to ask for your signed waiver or even a verbal waiver.

Contact an Experienced Oxnard Miranda Rights Attorney

If you or someone you know is being investigated or charged with a crime in the State of California, the most important thing to remember is that any statement or admission that you make can have an effect on your defense. The best thing that you can do to protect yourself is to politely tell the police that you do not wish to speak with them until your attorney is present and then call the team of experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Kann California Defense Group for a free consultation. Call our toll-free number 888-744-7730 today or use our online contact form.


[1] Miranda Warnings

[2] Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution 

[3] California v. Beheler, 463 U.S. 1121 (1983)

About the Author

Dan Kann

Daniel E. Kann has devoted his entire legal career exclusively to defending individuals facing criminal prosecution in Southern California. Dan fights criminal cases throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.


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