Miranda rights, or Miranda warnings, are specific rights read by police officers to the people held in custody. It is important to mention that Miranda rights have to be read only by state actors and only to the person that is arrested. In addition, police officers must read Miranda rights only if they are going to question the person under arrest (Harr et al., 2017). Thus, it is not obligatory to read the rights to the person questioned on the street or in other non-custodial situations. Moreover, police officers are required to read Miranda rights only in cases when they are going to question the person in custody (Harr et al., 2017). The questions asked also have to be designed in a way that causes incriminating responses. Consequently, questions like ‘What is your name?’ or ‘What is your address?’ are not considered interrogative and therefore do not have to be preceded by the reading of Miranda rights.
The main purpose of reading Miranda rights to the person questioned in custody is to provide the court with a legal basis to use that person’s responses. If the person in custody is not read their rights during arrest and before interrogation, the use of their evidence in court can be considered illegal. Therefore, it can be argued that the Miranda requirement does not prevent police from doing their job; it only gives them the ground for the legal use of the person’s evidence in court (Harr et al., 2017). On the other hand, if Miranda rights did not exist, it could cause confusion and problematic use of the detainees’ testimony. Also, people under arrest could lack knowledge about their rights to remain silent and to have their own or an appointed lawyer present during interrogation.
Harr, J. S., Hess, K. M., & Orthmann, C. H. (2017). Constitutional law and the criminal justice system (7th ed.). Cengage Learning US.