You Have the Right to Know How Miranda Rights Work

The issue of “Miranda rights” leads to one of the most common questions we receive from clients and potential clients. Often, people facing criminal charges have questions as to whether the failure of police to “read them their rights” while being arrested will have any effect on their charges going forward. Due to some popular myths created by TV and movies, many people have come to believe that if they are not read their rights while being taken into custody, this amounts to a “get out of jail free” card. Unfortunately, the law in this area is not so simple, and it is not always required that the Miranda rights be read; however, the failure of police to advise you of your rights may have a powerful impact on your criminal case.
Under the law, individuals who are to be interrogated while in police custody must be advised of certain rights prior to being questioned. If incriminating statements are made by someone who was not advised of their rights, it is possible that those statements could be excluded from being used as evidence in court. However, the mere fact that the police failed to say certain words while taking a person into custody does not make an otherwise lawful arrest unlawful, and it does not result in the automatic dismissal or criminal charges.
If you have been arrested or think that you may be, two pieces of advice generally apply:

  • Regardless of whether police have advised you of your rights, do not make any statements to anyone without first speaking to an attorney.
  • Consult with an attorney as soon as possible to review your case, including a review of any issues that could be created by a failure to advise you of your Miranda warnings.

This issue, like many others, highlights the need to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney rather than relying on “common wisdom.” Many myths exist as to the workings of the criminal justice system, and only an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you as to your rights and how they may affect your case. If you have questions or concerns about the specifics of your situation, call us today. We can help.

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