One of the questions I get the most during criminal consultations is: “he didn’t read me my rights, does that matter?” Like most things in the law it is a definite maybe.
“Reading Rights” is shorthand for reading Miranda rights, which have been required since the United States Supreme Court decided a case called Miranda v Arizona in 1966. In that case the Court determined that the police must inform a person that is in custody of certain basic rights prior to being interrogated. If they are not, the statement cannot be used against them. The Court said that not informing an accused criminal of certain rights would violated their right to an Attorney.
Most police departments read directly from a pre-printed Miranda card, which is dated and signed at the time it is used. The card can then be introduced as evidence at later court dates and suggests the officer properly read the accused criminal the correct warnings.
Proper Miranda cards include the following:
1) You have the right to remain silent
2) Anything you say will be used against you in a court of law
3) You have the right to an attorney
4) You have the right to an attorney to be present during questioning
5) If you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you
The decision in Miranda v. Arizona, shows the great importance of criminal defense lawyers. The United States Supreme Court said very clearly that the accused need lawyers right away. They are saying that it is so unfair to question an accused criminal without a lawyer present that the government must pay for them to have a lawyer in order to protect justice.
What happens if the police don’t read Miranda rights. Best case for the criminal defendant is that any statement they made after Miranda was required could not be used against them at trail. A lot of people seem to think that no Miranda rights means they can’t be convicted – wrong. Our Rochester criminal defense attorney can review your arrest.
To recap – Miranda warnings are required if:
1) a criminal or suspected criminal is in custody
2) they are interrogated (questioning likely to result in statements against their interest)
If Miranda rights are violated:
ANY STATEMENT MADE BY THE DEFENDANT AFTER THE WARNINGS WERE REQUIRED CANNOT BE USED AGAINST THEM