Miranda rights are those constitutional rights that each of us has to remain silent (not be forced to be a witness against ourselves) and consult with a lawyer before answering questions while in police custody. Many people are under the impression that if they’ve been arrested but haven’t been read their Miranda rights, they can’t be convicted of the charges.
If a person is in custody, police must inform them of their Miranda rights only if they want to question them and use their responses as evidence. It doesn’t matter if the location is in a jail or on the street. One exception would be a person blurting out “I’m guilty of (fill in the blank)!” before the police had a chance to give the warning (not likely, but possible). If a person is not in custody, no Miranda warning is required and any statements you make can and will be used against you at trial.
There are some exceptions to the general rule. Although the U.S. Constitution guarantees a “right of silence,” those who are questioned for loitering are required to give information to the police. There are various other exceptions as well, such as traffic stops which also do not require police to give a motorist Miranda warnings.
The takeaway is that without Miranda warnings, nothing a person says while in custody can be used at trial. And even after a warning, police are not permitted to coerce a person to answer through psychological or physical force.