When Do Police Have To Read Your Miranda Rights?

When Police Read Miranda Rights

When do police have to read you your Miranda Rights? The police are required to read you your Miranda Rights when you are in custody and¬†subject to interrogation. Your Miranda Rights inform you about your right to remain silent and your right to counsel per the 5th & 6th Amendments. All persons are presumed to know the law, including their rights under the law. As such, police are almost never required to inform an individual of his/her rights. However, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Miranda v. Arizona that your right to remain silent and your right to counsel are so fundamental to our system of justice, and so necessary to protect from false confession, that law enforcement must remind you of your rights each time you are subject to custodial interrogation. Hence the term “Miranda Rights” or “Miranda Warnings”.

The Supreme Court has never set forth a word for word recitation that must be used to convey your Miranda Rights. Often the precise wording varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, the warnings generally resemble the following:

“You have the right to remain silent when questioned. Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult with an attorney before speaking and you have the right to have an attorney present during questioning now and at any time in the future. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. If you decide to answer any questions now, without an attorney present, you still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney. Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?”

So when must the police read you your Miranda Rights? When you are in police custody and subject to interrogation.


Often custody is associated with arrest. If a person is arrested he/she is always in custody for Miranda purposes. However, not every person in custody is under arrest. Custody is defined in Iowa as circumstances under which a “suspect is deprived of his or her freedom of action in any significant way”. State v. Ortiz, 766 N.W.2d 244, 251 (Iowa 2009). Put another way; whether a subject’s¬†freedom of action was so restrained that a reasonable person in the same position would believe he or she was not free to leave. In evaluating custody a court looks to four factors:

1) the language used to summon the individual

2) the purpose, place, and manner of interrogation

3) The extent to which the Defendant is confronted with evidence of guilt

4) whether the defendant is free to leave the place of questioning

Miranda is REQUIRED to be read before any interrogation if a person is in custody. If it is not read, all testimonial evidence (statements) made by a Defendant can be suppressed (excluded from trial).


Interrogation is much easier to define. An interrogation involves any questions which are designed to elicit an incriminating response. A court views whether or not the questions are designed to elicit an incriminating response from the perspective of the person in custody. Interrogation involves even questions which the police did not intend to elicit an incriminating response, but should have known were reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response.

An incriminating response includes more than just inculpatory statements. An incriminating response refers to any statement that the prosecution seeks to enter at trial.

One thing to remember is that basic biographical questions asked during administrative processes, like booking into a jail, do NOT trigger the need to read your Miranda Rights. Any other time you are in custody and subject to interrogation the police are REQUIRED to read you your Miranda Rights before asking you any questions!

If you are charged with a crime call Stowers & Sarcone, PLC at (515) 224-7446. If it is after hours and an emergency call (515) 650-3979! Protect your rights! Act Now!