Miranda Rights: What Happens if the Police Don’t Read You Your Rights?
If you watch television or movies, you might have an incorrect assumption about when police officers must read you your Miranda Rights. Most people believe that their criminal charges are automatically dismissed if they are arrested and do not receive their Miranda warning. However, that is not true.
Before discussing what happens if the police don’t read you your rights, it helps to understand why the Miranda warning exists.
What Is the Miranda Warning?
A Miranda warning refers to your constitutional right to receive specific warnings when law enforcement officers detain and interrogate you. The warning stems from the right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment and the right to legal counsel under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The Miranda requirement to inform you of your rights comes from the decision in Miranda v. Arizona in 1966 by the Supreme Court of the United States. The court ruled that a person must be made aware of certain rights whenever they are questioned by law enforcement officers while in custody, also known as a custodial interrogation.
What Are Your Miranda Rights?
The rights explained by the Miranda Warning are:
- The right to remain silent (the right against self-incrimination)
- The right to consult with a lawyer (the right to legal representation and counsel)
- The right to have a lawyer present during questioning or interrogation
- Any statements you make or things you say can be held against you in court
- The court provides you with an attorney if you are unable to hire a lawyer on your own
Police officers memorize the Miranda Warning because they are required to provide the warning before any custodial interrogation. However, an arresting officer often recites the Miranda Warning even if the officer does not intend to ask the person any questions.
Determining When a Person Is in Custody
You can be in police custody while standing on the sidewalk, sitting in the back of a police car, or in jail. You can be in police custody in the middle of the grocery store or while standing in your front yard.
Being in police custody means you cannot leave, and your freedom of action is restricted. In other words, you are deprived of your freedom to move freely at your own will.
The Miranda decision states that police officers must inform you of your rights if they intend to question you while in custody AND use your statements against you in court.
However, if you are not in custody, there is no legal requirement for an officer to read you the Miranda Warning. Anything you say while not in police custody could be used against you in court, even without the Miranda Warning.
Law enforcement officers often delay arresting someone because they hope to gather the evidence they can use against the person in court. Once they detain or arrest the person, they cannot use anything the person says against them in court unless the officers read the person the Miranda Warning.
Therefore, if an officer tells you that you are free to leave, don’t keep talking to the officer. Instead, confirm you are free to leave and then leave. If you remain voluntarily and answer questions, your statements could be used to incriminate you.
Does the Court Automatically Dismiss Criminal Charges When the Police Don’t Read Me the Miranda Warning?
Your criminal case can proceed even if the police officers did not read you your rights. They could not use your statements against you in court if they questioned you while you were in custody, and they did not read you the Miranda Warning before questioning you. However, the prosecutor might have sufficient evidence to prove you are guilty without your statements.
What Happens to My Criminal Charges if the Police Violate My Miranda Rights?
Police officers who interrogate you while in custody without informing you of your rights violate your constitutional rights. Accordingly, your Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer files a motion to suppress evidence.
If a judge rules in your favor, your statements are inadmissible in court. The judge might dismiss the criminal charges if there is insufficient evidence to prove your guilt without your statements.
Generally, it is not wise to talk to the police or a prosecutor without a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney present in the room. You have the right to legal counsel. You should exercise that right whenever you are arrested for a crime, even if you are innocent.
Police officers can lie to you during questioning. It is a common tactic used by many law enforcement officers to get you to incriminate yourself. The more you talk, the more likely you are to say something that could result in a conviction and criminal penalties.
Contact the Los Angeles Criminal Defense Law Firm of The Rodriguez Law Group Today For Help
The Rodriguez Law Group – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
626 Wilshire Blvd Suite 460, Los Angeles, CA 90017, United States