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  • Richard Noel

Entrapment, Miranda, and Other Myths About Arrest

Image courtesy of I.C.E.


The more I interact with people, the more I hear the same questions when someone has been arrested. The questions almost always seem to involve Miranda warnings, entrapment and typos.


"I was arrested and they never read my Miranda rights. Doesn't that mean they have to let me go?"


Ok. Here's the deal with Miranda: We've all heard them on tv and can probably recite them by heart. If someone says they weren't read their Miranda warnings, my immediate response is, "so what?" Whether you even get the warnings is determined by the nature of the questioning done by police. Assuming it's "custodial" which in layman's terms means the police are asking you questions for purposes of furthering an investigation and your movement has been hindered by police, Miranda informs you of your right to shut up, which you should absolutely do until your lawyer is present.


These issues of Miranda only come up when a person made a statement they shouldn't have, after being arrested or detained, and police failed to inform them of their rights. A Miranda violation does not equal bad arrest and it doesn't mean you're entitled to have charges dropped. It means any statements made in conjunction with the violation will be inadmissible in court.


"The police entrapped me because they lied to me about being police when I asked, and they have to tell you the truth or it's entrapment."


I have no idea where this long-held myth came from. It's ludicrous to think anyone can walk free because the police lied in some undercover sting. Entrapment happens when a police officer goads a person into committing a crime, of which, they would have no normal disposition. That's it.


"The officer incorrectly filled out my citation. Does that mean it's dismissed?"


I keep seeing this pop up. People seem to be under the belief that if an officer is filling out a citation, and accidentally marks Male instead of Female, the typo is so egregious, surely a court must dismiss the case. Court's aren't likely to dismiss a case due to a simple clerical error in the charging document. One could argue that a typo on a search warrant is equally worthless. But the issue search warrants will be reserved for a much lengthier post.


"Police lied during my interrogation/ tricked me into consenting to a search."


Yeah. That happens. It's part of an officer's job to get you to consent to a search of your car, house, purse, or hotel room; or spill the beans with a confession using bogus information. It's your job to shut up and politely request your lawyer. Say nothing, do nothing.

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