If you are facing a criminal charge in California and the law enforcement officer who arrested you failed to read you your Miranda rights, you may have begun celebrating, thinking this means you will not receive a conviction relating to your charge. Regrettably, however, real-life court proceedings do not always happen the way they do on TV, and many people do not fully understand what Miranda rights mean and how they work.
So, before you automatically believe the things you see on your favorite court shows, know that the following are two common misconceptions about Miranda rights:
1. If authorities do not read them to you, you are home free
A belief that you can walk free if authorities do not read you your Miranda rights is arguably the most widespread falsehood surrounding your right to remain silent. In some cases, authorities may try to make you say something incriminating on the stand so that they can use it against you, regardless of whether they read you your rights. While not reading you your rights may make it more difficult for authorities to build a case against you, the omission does not necessarily mean you automatically get off scot-free.
2. Authorities must Mirandize every offender they arrest
Many people also mistakenly believe that authorities must Mirandize every criminal offender, regardless of circumstance, but this does not always hold true. In many situations, authorities Mirandize arrestees they plan to interrogate immediately after. If your crime is relatively minor and they do not have concerns about building a big case, they may not bother reading you your rights. The same might hold true if law enforcement officials believe they have more than enough evidence to convict you without getting your statement.
If authorities place you under arrest and you have any questions at all about your rights, you may want to exercise your right to remain silent until you have a chance to learn more.