You may have heard the following phrase: «You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.»
This phrase, referred to as Miranda Warnings, tend to confuse people, as some people think if they weren’t read these rights, they automatically will win their case. But, in some cases, it isn’t necessary for a law enforcement officer to read you these rights. Read on to learn what happens if an officer fails to read your Miranda rights.
How Did Miranda Rights Get Their Name?
Miranda rights get their name from a landmark U.S. Supreme Court titled Miranda v. Arizona. In this Supreme Court Case, a man named Ernesto Miranda was arrested for allegedly stealing a few dollars from an Arizona bank teller. After two consecutive hours of intense questioning, Miranda confessed not only to the robbery– but also to kidnapping and rape.
When law enforcement officers brought him in for further questioning, he was never read his Miranda rights, and was therefore never informed that he had the right to a lawyer, or that he had the right to not speak with police if he chose not to. Without fully understanding these rights, Miranda confessed to multiple crimes and was subsequently found guilty. The conviction was then appealed in the Supreme Court as the confession was not able to be used as evidence. Ever since this landmark court case, law enforcement officials are required to read the Miranda rights to anyone in custody being questioned.
When Are Miranda Rights Legally Required To Be Read?
During what’s referred to as “custodial interrogations,” law enforcement officers are required to read Miranda warnings. Essentially, this means that you have to be within police custody and basically under arrest, and the law enforcement officer needs to be actively asking you questions in order for these rights to be mandatorily read.
For example, if you were pulled over in traffic for running a red light or reckless driving the law enforcement officer who pulled you over would not need to read you your Miranda rights during a routine field sobriety test. Also, if you law enforcement officers aren’t actively questioning you, but you speak up on your own accord, it’s not necessary or legally required for your rights to be read in this context either.
Can My Case Be Dismissed If The Officer Never Read Me My Miranda Rights?
Remember, the aforementioned example is the only situation in which law enforcement officials are required to read you your Miranda rights. If you’re not given your Miranda rights, this does not necessarily mean that your case will be dismissed or that you will win.
Regardless, if you were supposed to be read your Miranda rights but weren’t, the only way this will affect your case is that the statements you provided while the police were actively questioning you cannot be used in trial. They are considered inadmissible, which means that the State cannot use them against you in any way should your case go to trial before a judge. Even if you fully confessed to a crime, but your Miranda rights weren’t read when they were supposed to, that confession can be thrown out.
Schedule A Free No Obligation Consultation With Toland Law If You Have Questions About Your Miranda Rights
If your Miranda warnings were never read to you, this doesn’t always mean that you’ll automatically win your case. Even if it was required that the police read your rights, and they didn’t, your case won’t be automatically thrown out. Remember, if an officer was required to read your rights but failed to, this means anything you said in your statements or responses to police cannot be used in court if your case goes to trial. Even if you confessed, similar to Miranda, this information cannot be used against you.
The laws that govern reading Miranda warnings can be complex and hard to understand. If you or a loved one were arrested and questioned and believe an officer failed to read you your Miranda rights, call Toland Law today and schedule a free consultation.
In your free consultation, we’ll listen to the details of your case and let you know if there is a pertinent Miranda rights issue. If you or someone you love has been charged with any other crime in Boston, call Toland Law to get a head start on building a strong case for your defense.