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When should the police read you your Miranda rights in Tennessee?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Criminal Law

After a police arrest, you may be so overwhelmed that you just say whatever comes to mind. Granted, it’s not the ideal situation. But it’s important to remember your rights during these times, including your Miranda rights.

Police should inform you of these rights at specific times. Otherwise, any statement you make may not hold legal weight in court.

Defining ‘Miranda’ rights

Miranda rights are warnings that law enforcement must give to suspects before questioning them while in custody. These rights, grounded in the Fifth Amendment, protect you against self-incrimination and include:

  1. The right to remain silent.
  2. The acknowledgment that anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
  3. The right to an attorney.
  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

In Tennessee, as throughout the U.S., police must read your Miranda rights before “questioning after arrest.”

What does ‘questioning after arrest’ mean?

“Questioning after arrest” is a term used when police question you about a crime after they take you into custody. Being ‘in custody’ doesn’t only apply after a formal arrest. It also covers scenarios where the police have held you in a way that you feel you can’t freely leave.

For instance, if the police haven’t formally arrested you but have detained or held you in a way that makes you feel you can’t just walk away, that falls under ‘in custody.’ In this situation, the police must read your Miranda rights first if they want to question you about a crime.

On the other hand, if you’re merely talking to officers voluntarily and feel free to leave at any time, this doesn’t typically fall under a custodial situation. In these cases, officers don’t need to read your Miranda rights before asking questions.

Consequences of not reading Miranda rights

When police fail to read your Miranda rights as required, courts might not accept your statements as evidence. In other words, if you say anything in custody without proper Miranda warnings, what you say can’t be evidence against you in a criminal trial.

Violations of your rights can affect your case. For guidance in these situations, consider seeking the help of a legal professional. They can tirelessly advocate for your rights throughout the legal process.