MIRANDA RIGHTS: WHAT HAPPENS IF POLICE DO NOT “READ YOUR RIGHTS”?
Many people believe that if they are arrested and not “read their rights” they can escape punishment. This is not true.
If the police fail to read a suspect their Miranda rights, the prosecutor cannot use the suspect’s answers to questions while under arrest as evidence against the suspect at trial. However, as with nearly all legal rules, there are exceptions.
WHAT ARE MIRANDA RIGHTS?
These are rights that are familiar to most people who watch TV police shows. Upon the arrest of a suspect they are read:
• 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 questioning.
• If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you at public expense.
• If you choose to speak to a police officer, you have the right to stop the interview at any time.
WHEN ARE MIRANDA WARNINGS REQUIRED
It does not matter if are you in a jail, at the crime scene, on busy street, or in an open field, when you are being interrogated, if you are in custody (not free to leave or deprived of freedom of movement in a significant way), you must be read your Miranda warnings if they want to question you and use your answers as evidence in court.
If you are not in police custody, no Miranda warnings are required and anything you say can be used in court.
If you have not been arrested, the police may question you and use your answers in court without first giving Miranda warnings. If you have reason to believe that you are a potential suspect in a crime, you should politely decline to answer questions, at least until after consulting with an attorney.
It is never a good idea to speak to police after you have been arrested, at least until after you have spoken with an attorney.
CONSEQUENCES OF FAILING TO PROVIDE MIRANDA WARNINGS
If no Miranda warnings are given, nothing you say in response to custodial questioning can be used as evidence against you at trial. Additionally, if the police find evidence as a result of the Miranda warning violation, that evidence is deemed inadmissible too. That is called “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”. A good defense lawyer will file a Motion to Suppress and seek that the illegally seized evidence be thrown out of court!
MICHIGAN CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS WHO ARE EXPERTS IN ISSUES RELATING TO MIRANDA WARNINGS
The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. practice exclusively criminal law and are recognized experts in the field. They are constantly educating themselves to keep abreast of the frequent changes in the criminal law. If you are being charged with a felony or misdemeanor offense and there are potential constitutional rights violations or possible Miranda warning violations, it is important that you let a criminal law expert evaluate your situation. Please contact the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 with any questions you may have, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our attorneys will contact you.