When do the police give Miranda rights?

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Failure to Read Miranda Rights – Suppression of Evidence

Virtually every person who calls LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. regarding a misdemeanor or felony offense, believes that if they were not “read their rights,” the charges have to be dismissed. Unfortunately, this is a misunderstanding of the law that is perpetuated by television shows and movies. The Miranda myth created in the entertainment industry does not accurately reflect the state of the law in the United States or Michigan. It is essential to know your Miranda Rights.

Under the Miranda Law, if the police fail to read an in-custody suspect his rights, the prosecutor can’t use that person’s answers to police questioning (AKA interrogation) as evidence against the suspect at trial.

What Are Miranda Rights?

Popularly known as the Miranda warning (ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona), a defendant’s rights consist of the familiar litany invoked by TV police immediately upon arresting a suspect:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • If you say anything, what you say can be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to consult with a lawyer and have that lawyer present during any questioning.
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you so desire.
  • If you choose to talk to the police officer, you have the right to stop the interview at any time.
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When the Miranda Warning Is Required

If a person is in custody, the police must read them their Miranda rights if they want to question them. Custody doesn’t necessarily mean in jail. Custody means when a person’s liberty is substantially impaired due to physical or mental constraints.

However, if a person is not in police custody, no Miranda warning is required, and anything the person says can be used at trial, including answers to police questions.

Responding to Questions Before an Arrest

A police officer generally cannot arrest a person solely for failure to respond to questions. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the “right of silence.” A person approached by a police officer has the legal right to refuse to answer questions. Indeed, a person who has reason to believe that they are a potential suspect should politely decline to answer questions, at least until after consulting an attorney. The best possible thing to say is, “I respectfully decline to answer your questions. I invoke my right to remain silent. I am requesting an attorney.” If you know your Miranda Rights, you will be less likely to say or do something incriminating.

The right to remain silent does not protect a person who gives a false name or other false information to the police. You can remain silent, but lying to the police is a crime in Michigan.

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Questioning After the Arrest

Never speak to the police or answer questions after an arrest. Period. Know your Miranda Rights.

Suspects frequently and unwittingly reveal information later used as evidence of their guilt. People often try to justify their cooperation with police questioning by saying they had done nothing wrong or thought it would look suspicious if they remained silent. More than half of the criminal cases charged in Michigan would disappear if people kept their mouths shut.

We all know that people often hear what they want to hear. Police are no different and frequently misinterpret (or twist) a harmless statement into something inculpatory. Even when someone does not admit guilt, police often look more for minor inconsistencies or minor errors in facts, which are later used to show that a person was “evasive” or “dishonest.” Worse yet, when everything else fails, police will say that a person was nervous when answering questions and appeared dishonest or deceptive. The bottom line is that talking with the police ALWAYS works out very badly for the suspect.

Consequences of Failure to Provide Miranda Warning

Without a Miranda warning, a person’s answers to custodial interrogation are inadmissible in court. Any answers to custodial interrogation without Miranda are subject to suppression. Besides, under the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine, if the police find evidence from information provided during an interrogation that violates the Miranda rule, that evidence may also be inadmissible at trial. Even if the judge finds that you did not know your Miranda rights, they will bend over backward to find your statements admissible if legally possible.

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Criminal Defense Lawyers – Constitutional Attorneys

If you have been accused by law enforcement of committing a felony or misdemeanor offense, there may be a warrant for your arrest. If you have charges in court, please call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. We will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and address each of your concerns. We will work with you to develop a winning strategy. Do not feel bad if you talked with the police and were unaware of your Miranda rights. We can help you!

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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