Can My Charges Be Dismissed If the Officer Did Not Mirandize Me?
On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in Criminal Defense on Thursday, January 31, 2019
When you are placed in police custody and are going to be interrogated, the police must read you your Miranda rights. We say “read,” but really the police will tell you these rights. Your Miranda rights are a few – not all – of your constitutional rights. They are so important, in fact, that courts have found the police are responsible for telling you these rights prior to custodial interrogations to ensure you know about them, and have the choice to enforce them.
If you call us and say, “an officer did not mirandize me upon being arrested,” then we will immediately begin to investigate whether you were subjected to a custodial interrogation. In the event that you were, the consequences could be that any statements you gave could be suppressed and not admitted into court. However, many criminal cases move forward, even for defendants who were not read their Miranda rights after being arrested.
To learn more about the consequences of not being read your Miranda rights after an arrest, contact the Charlotte criminal defense attorneys at Randall & Stump, PLLC right away. We will scrutinize each step of your stop, arrest, and interrogation to determine if the police violated the law, and if so, how this impacts your criminal case. Contact us today at (980) 237-4579 to schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case.
What are My Miranda Rights?
You have probably heard Miranda rights read on a TV show or in a movie. They are:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law.
- You have their right to an attorney.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one can be appointed to you.
When the Police Must Mirandize You
There is a common misconception that Miranda rights are closely connected to your arrest. You likely think that if you are arrested, an officer must read you your rights immediately. However, this is not true. Miranda rights are connected to custodial interrogations. In other words, these rights are associated with when the police have you in their custody, meaning you are not free to leave, and they want to question you regarding a crime they believe you committed.
In those circumstances, the police must read you your rights before you can be questioned. They may not mirandize you after an arrest if they are not concerned with questioning you. In this situation, the lack of Miranda rights will have little impact on your criminal case, and will not be a basis for dismissal. However, if you are questioned without being read your Miranda rights, the consequences could be significant.
The Consequences of Being Questioned Without Being Mirandized
If you are questioned by the police after you are arrested and taken into custody, but you were not mirandized, then the answers to your questions are not admissible evidence. In other words, everything you said during the interrogation will be thrown out and cannot be used at trial.
You may have confessed to the crime or said something incriminating, yet your lawyer can file a motion to suppress this evidence. If the judge approves the motion, then the jury will never hear about the confession at trial.
The suppression of your answers does not mean your case will be dismissed. However, it may be enough for your lawyer to file a motion to dismiss. Whether or not this motion is successful depends on the amount and strength of other evidence prosecutors have against you. If the prosecutor has very little evidence against you apart from the suppressed evidence, then a judge may grant a motion to dismiss.
Your Miranda Rights Exist, Even if the Police Do Not Say Them
It is essential that you know your Miranda rights exist at all times during and after your arrest, interrogations, and through the criminal justice process. These are constitutional rights that you retain. The police do not give you these rights when they mirandize you.
If you know your rights, even if the police did not properly remind you of them, then you should use them. To invoke your right to remain silent, you should clearly, politely, and unambiguously tell a police officer that you are invoking that right. Only then should you refuse to answer any questions.
The second and only other thing you should say is that you wish to speak with an attorney. You must clearly state that you want a lawyer. You should be given the ability to contact someone, and it is in your best interests to call a lawyer directly, or to contact a trusted family member or friend who can call an attorney for you.
A Lack of Miranda Rights May Not Result in a Dismissal
At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we are contacted by many people who believe their case should be dismissed because they were not mirandized. Unfortunately, this does not happen often. The police reading you your Miranda rights may have little impact on your case, or it may benefit you by allowing the suppression of certain evidence. If there are grounds for your case to be dismissed, we will file a motion to dismiss right away and present a persuasive argument to the judge.