Usually, when a person states, “I was not read my rights!” they are referring to their Miranda Warnings/Rights. Miranda Warnings protect people from being compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against themselves. The Miranda Warnings/Rights are: (1) You have the right to remain silent; (2) Anything you say can and will be used against you in court; (3) You have the right to consult with an attorney and have an attorney present during questioning; and (4) If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you before questioning at no cost to you.
Many people misunderstand when a peace officer is required to give them Miranda Warnings. A suspect is only accorded Miranda protections during a custodial interrogation. Both elements (i.e., custody and interrogation) must be present before the peace officer is required to give Miranda Warnings. That means peace officers are not required to give Miranda Warnings when they are still in the investigatory stage. For instance, a peace officer is not required to give Miranda Warnings when he asks a person suspected of driving under the influence if they have been drinking or asks them to conduct field sobriety tests. This is because the peace officer is still trying to ascertain whether a crime has been committed (i.e., The Investigatory Stage).
A person is in custody when an individual’s freedom of action is curtailed to a degree associated with a formal arrest. The inquiry is objective, and a person may understand himself to be in custody based either on physical evidence or on the nature of the peace officer’s instructions and questions. Courts have set out a five-factor test to determine when a person is in custody for the purpose of Miranda protections. They are: (1) the site of the interrogation; (2) whether the investigation focused on the accused; (3) whether the objective indicia of arrest were present; (4) the length and form of the interrogation; and (5) whether the accused came to the place of interrogation freely and willingly.
After it has been determined that the accused was in custody, the court must decide whether the accused incriminating statement was the product of interrogation. Interrogation is either express questioning by the peace officers or its functional equivalent. And, it incorporates any words or actions on the part of the peace officers that they should have known were reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response.
Yes, it is legal to arrest someone without reading them their "Miranda" rights. Failure to do so only becomes an issue when law enforcement seeks to introduce statements by the arrested person as evidence in the person's prosecution. If Miranda rights were not read, the person arrsted can move to have any statements made after the arrest suppressed, meaning they cannot be used against him / her. But, do not think just because rights were not read that the arrest goes away.
All my comments here are intended for general legal purposes. None of my comments here establish an attorney-client relationship with anyone. None of my comments should be relied on in taking legal action without first consulting an attorney.
Miranda rights are required in order to use a subsequently obtained confession or admissions. It does not sound as though these officers interrogated the suspect; they just arrested her. Therefore there was no need to Mirandize her. They had what they wanted-evidence of a crime, in fact contraband, in plain view. Why bother interrogating her?