What is the resulting effect if a police officer does not read the Miranda warnings verbatim to a suspect? Put another way, do police officers have to provide Miranda to suspects in its exact form? The short answer is no. Certain warnings must be given before a suspect’s statement made during custodial interrogation could be admitted in evidence. The general rule is that Miranda warnings must reasonably convey the rights afforded to the defendant. “We have never insisted that Miranda warnings be given in the exact form described in that decision.” Duckworth v. Eagan, 492 U.S. 195, 203, 109 S.Ct. 2875, 2880, 106 L.Ed.2d 166, 177 (1989). The warning must touch all the “bases required by Miranda.” The question is whether the warnings reasonably “convey to [a suspect] his rights as required by Miranda.”

So, once Miranda has satisfied all the “bases”, look to determine if the accused made the waiver voluntarily and knowingly of the rights they were giving up. To determine whether the accused’s rights were knowingly given up, one must look at “the particular facts and circumstances surrounding that case, including the background, experience, and conduct of the accused.” North Carolina v. Butler, 441 U.S. 369, 374-75, 99 S.Ct. 1755, 60 L.Ed.2d 286(1979). Courts hold that certain courses of conduct indicate a knowing waiver of rights. (Defendant waived his right after Miranda by answering a police question). Berghuis v. Thompkins, 560 U.S. 370, 130 S.Ct. 2250, 176 L.Ed.2d 1098 (2010).

In conclusion, the exact phrasing of Miranda is not required. So long as the basic tenants of Miranda are satisfied the warning will suffice. To determine sufficiency, one must look at what the officer exactly said to the suspect. From there, one must determine whether the suspect knew what rights they were giving up.

Attorney Craig Rosenstein has defended numerous clients in the Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties, and provides each client with a detail-oriented, individualized representation for their DUI defense. At the Rosenstein Law Group, every attorney works to educate each client on their rights, and make sure that those rights have not been violated. If you or anyone you know is in need of our services, please call us at 480-248-7666, and set up your free consultation.