Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
Despite what you see in television and movies, Miranda rights do not need to be read to someone arrested in every situation. Below, a Fairfax criminal lawyer discusses this and other misconceptions regarding your Miranda rights and whether asking to speak with an attorney implies guilt. To discuss your case in more detail, call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today.
The most common misconception about Miranda rights is that police have to read it to all arrestees or otherwise the arrest is invalid or the person’s rights have been denied, this simply isn’t true. The only time police need to read anyone their Miranda warnings is when they are interrogating someone who is in custody.
Miranda rights only apply custodial interrogation situations, and they only protect certain rights (right to remain silent, right to counsel, etc.). Failure to read Miranda rights in a custodial interrogation situation does not invalidate the entire arrest, it may only be grounds to suppress certain statements that were made in violation of Miranda. Police do not have to read you your Miranda rights at all if you’ve been charged with an offense but they’re not questioning you.
It depends on what point in the investigation you are requesting an attorney. The only time that you have the absolute right to an attorney is in the course of a custodial interrogation. That means that you’re in custody and they’re asking you questions about the offense.
If they are doing that, they must read you Miranda rights. One of those rights is that you have the right to contact an attorney before answering questions. If you request an attorney, they have to cut off questioning immediately.
On the street prior to arrest, however, the officer has the right to control the arrest without running out and getting you an attorney immediately upon request. On the other hand, if you are in a custodial interrogation issue situation, then you have the automatic right to an attorney and they can’t ask you questions without an attorney being present.
It does not imply guilt. You have an absolute right to request an attorney before speaking to police. That cannot be used against you when they get to trial. With that said, an officer on the street may think that a request to speak with an attorney implies guilt, however, your ultimate concern when dealing with the police is what evidence will be admissible against you at trial, and in court, the request for attorney cannot be used against you and does not imply guilt.