Miranda Rights: What if the officer did not read you your rights?



What if the officer did not read you your rights?

Upon police interrogation, where you are not free to leave, police are required to read Miranda warnings to you (also called, being Mirandized or reading your rights). What are Miranda warnings? Chances are, you’ve heard them before on TV. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.” This is a quick explanation of your constitutional right against self-incrimination and your right to have an attorney present during police questioning.

There is a common fallacy that if a police officer fails to read you your rights, your case will automatically be dismissed. This is not true. In the event that a police officer does not Mirandize you where required, any statement you make after may not be used against you in criminal court. Further, without being Mirandized, confessions given or evidence discovered as a result of making statements could potentially be “thrown out” or not used against you in a criminal case. A strong defense attorney can assist in preventing the court from using the information against you in instances where your Miranda rights have been violated. It is important to note, however, in the event that you remain completely silent, despite not being read your Miranda rights, the failure of the police reading your rights will likely have little impact on your case. It is also important to note, that even where the police failed to read you your rights, statements and evidence could still be used against you for other purposes in your criminal matter, such as impeachment. Each situation is different and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Your defense attorney will help you decide whether your Miranda and constitutional rights have been violated.

While you have the right to remain silent, the police do not have to recite these to you unless you’re in custody (or not free to leave). That means the police can ask you questions and do not need to Mirandize you, so long as you are there voluntarily and can leave at any time. While you are not generally required to respond when being questioned by the police, any statements you make while you’re not in custody (free to leave) are fair game to be used against you or to discover evidence against you.

If you think your Miranda rights have been violated, call the Law Offices of Jennifer G. Tocci, P.C. (631) 343-7676 to discuss your case with a skilled defense attorney.

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