Unfortunately, most of the things the general public knows about Constitutional rights and the criminal justice system comes from television shows or what they “heard” from someone. The problem with that is that without context, it is difficult to ascertain what is important, what is relevant, and what things means overall to a particular criminal case. A great example is the significance of when the officer did not read you your rights when you were charged with a crime. In this blog, we will discuss this. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
When does the officer have to read your rights?
Reading your rights refers to Miranda warnings. At its essence, it is a rule that aids a criminal defendant with his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. This is supposed to occur during a custodial interrogation. It does not happen randomly.
If the officer did not read you your rights it is not a magic bullet
Miranda rights cover statements that you would make against yourself that end up being incriminating. Other sources of evidence are still included. Also, as mentioned above, the rights only refer to custodial statements, it does not offer any protection against voluntary statements you make to the police prior to being in custody, or voluntary statements you make to anyone else. If an officer violates your Miranda Rights, your case is not automatically thrown out. The proper remedy is for the court to suppress any statements that you made as a result of the Miranda violation.
The officer did not read you your rights Example 1 – You are charged with a crime and the evidence against you includes finger prints, your personal property found at the scene, and an eye witness account of what happened. Chances are the fact that an officer did not read you your rights will not have a large impact on your case.
The officer did not read you your rights Example 2 – The evidence against you was all obtained from individual sources and not from anything you said. Also, you did not make any statements to law enforcement. In this situation, the fact that the officer did not read you your rights would not have an impact on you case.
The officer did not read you your rights Example 3 – You were not in a custodial interrogation, you were free to leave at any time, and you chose to speak to the police about something, and that information led to you being charged and arrested. In this situation, the fact that your rights were not read to you would have little impact on your case because they information you gave was a voluntary statement and was not made while subject to custodial interrogation.
Miranda Rights are important, and in some cases, they can have a huge impact on your case. In many cases they will not have much impact at all.