Anyone who has watched television police or crime shows is familiar with – you have the right to remain silent, everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, etc. These are known as Miranda warnings and there are times when those rights are required to be read to a person and times when they are not. One of the most common misconceptions is that police must give Miranda Warnings at the time of a person’s arrest. Unfortunately, this is not true.
Legal issues regarding Miranda warnings, and when they are required, have been litigated hundreds of times since the United States Supreme Court decided the case in 1966. In the recent case of United States v Woods (decided on April 3, 2013), the United States Supreme Court held that police asking a suspect “What’s in your pocket?” is neither investigatory nor calculated to elicit in incriminating response. Therefore, Miranda warnings are not required.
In the Woods case the police officer stopped him for a traffic violation. Mr. Woods was being arrested for driving without a license. While he was being given a pat-down search, an officer found a lump on Woods’ pocket and asked him what was inside the pocket. Mr. Woods responded by hinting that he was in possession of contraband and eventually admitted there was a gun in the car. The Court found that the question was a legitimate and routine inquiry made as part of a search incident to an arrest. The Court stated that Mr. Woods could have just as easily answered the question with something that did not incriminate himself and that volunteering incriminating details should not serve to punish the police officers. Also, the Court acknowledged that the automobile would have been searched any way as incident to the arrest and the contraband would have been found then.
In essence, Miranda Warnings must only be given when a suspect is in custody and being subjected to interrogation. If a suspect in a felony or misdemeanor case was in custody and interrogated and Miranda Warnings were not given, an experienced, aggressive criminal defense lawyer will file a Motion to Suppress and seek the suppression of any evidence gained as a result of the unconstitutional interrogation.
A Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney will help when constitutional issues need to be evaluated and assessed.
Constitutional rights are paramount in this country. The Founding Father’s felt them so important that they were included in the document that essentially all laws in the United States stem from. When you are faced with a felony or misdemeanor charge and the possibility that your constitutional rights have been violated, it is extremely important that you have a criminal defense attorney that has experience, knowledge and expertise in constitutional law issues. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have over 50 years of combined legal experience in criminal and constitutional law matters and we are not afraid to stand up and fight for your rights! Please call us at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or kindly complete a Request for Assistance Form
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