WHAT ARE THE MIRANDA RIGHTS?
In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the historic case of Miranda v. Arizona, declaring that a person taken into custody must be read his or her rights before being questioned, i.e. Miranda Rights. Those Miranda Rights are enforceable through the Fifth Amendment right not to make any self-incriminating statements against himself or herself. As a result of Miranda, an individual in police custody must be told that he or she has the right:
1. To remain silent.
2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
3. You have the right to an attorney.
4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
Read the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision here Miranda v Arizona.
What if police fail to advise me of my Miranda Rights?
When questioned, a suspect in custody without first being read his or her Miranda Rights then any statement or confession made maybe presumed involuntary and cannot subsequently be used against the suspect during his or her criminal case involving the matter. Any evidence discovered as a result of that statement or confession maybe suppressed unable to be presented during trial.
Suppose that “John” is walking down the street and Officer X was walking on the other side of the street at the same time. Because Officer X is an outstanding police officer and looks over every single warrant notice that the department issues, he recognizes “John” from a warrant he saw last week (which included the booking picture of “John”). Officer X walks over to “John” and asks him his name. “John” replies and Officer X calls the station to determine if this is in fact the “John” that has a warrant issued for his arrest. This is the correct “John,” and the warrant was issued for failure to appear at a hearing for a current criminal case pending involving “John.” Officer X subsequently arrests him and takes him back to the police station. He is never read his Miranda rights, shortly after “John” is booked at the station, Officer X puts “John” in the room where he is questioned for 30 minutes. Officer X still never read him his Miranda rights. During the interrogation, which was custodial, “John” made numerous incriminating statements about his criminal case that was still pending at the court.
The incriminating statements made by “John” would likely be suppressed when it came to trial, which means that the prosecutor working on the case would not be able to use the statements as evidence against John when prosecuting him for the crime. However, this would not preclude prosecution altogether, at least with regards to the facts as noted. Of course, the statements are only likely to be suppressed, and this is said because many situations, especially when dealing with the law, are not always black and white.
Circumstances can influence and/or change the outcome of any case, for better or worse. This article was supposed to point out that these things, such as Miranda rights, are key to defending any individual’s Constitutional and trial rights. Regardless, if you are attempting to attack a warrant, improper search or arrest, a search of your motor vehicle, as a passenger in a vehicle searched, or a pat-down by an officer, you’ll want to discuss your matter with someone. In the end, it is a defense lawyer’s job to notice these things, pull them out of the case, and determine if it will stick. If it does then we take a shot at it, if we advise.
Please do not rely on these principles if attempting or trying to defend yourself during a criminal proceeding, but instead speak with or retain an attorney. Whenever you are facing criminal charges, you need a criminal defense attorney. Josh Jones has your back and is available 7-days a week.