When representing an individual charged in a criminal case, I always meet with my client to discuss the facts of their case and explore potential defenses to their criminal charge(s). Frequently, a client will get a glimmer in their eye as if they are about to pull an ace out of their sleeve as they eagerly inform me that the police violated their constitutional rights when they were arrested. When I ask for clarification, I am told with great enthusiasm and satisfaction that the police never read my client “their rights” when they were arrested. However, this does not always have an effect on a client’s criminal charges.
What are Miranda Rights?
Everyone is familiar with Miranda Rights. In fact, because of their frequent inclusion into television and movies, you can probably quote them word for word. Yet, you probably don’t know their purpose and how they can help you if you are charged with a crime.
Miranda, among other things, advises an individual of their constitutional right against self-incrimination. Unfortunately, far too many people waive this constitutional protection and make a statement (confession) to the police. Miranda Warnings must be given to a person who has been arrested if the police intend to interview (interrogate) this person who is under arrest.
My rights were not read to me, what affect does this have on my case?
Speaking in very general terms, the first question I ask to determine if law enforcement’s failure to read my client the Miranda Rights has any impact on the case is simple: Did you make any statements to the police? If the answer is “No”, then law enforcement’s failure to read you Miranda Warnings has no impact on your case. Why? Because the failure to be advised of your Miranda Warnings would potentially suppress any statements (confessions) that were made without the benefit of Miranda Warnings. Since you did not make any statements, there is no statement to suppress.
If you did make a statement to the police without being advised of your Miranda Rights, the next questions was were you under arrest at the time you made this statement/confession? This question is likely not as straightforward as it sounds. You will need to consult a criminal defense attorney to discuss this in greater detail as this area of law is very fact specific. However, if you were in fact under arrest at the time law enforcement requested that you make a statement without first advising you of your Miranda warnings, then this is a violation of your Constitutional rights and you should hire a criminal defense attorney to file the appropriate motions in attempt to have your statement excluded.
Please keep in mind that this article is meant to educate you on the basics of Miranda and correct some common misconceptions in this area of law. However, this is a complicated topic and you should hire a criminal defense attorney to look at the facts of your case to determine how to proceed with your criminal charges.
I would be honored to provide you with a free consultation discuss your case with you. Contact me directly at 678-988-1199.