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When handling criminal defense work for our clients, we often get the statement “The police didn’t read me my rights”. Often, our clients are hoping that they can get out of their charges because their rights, known as “Miranda Rights” were not read. However, unlike what we see on TV shows such as Law & Order or King & Maxwell, most of the time, this is simply not true.
What are “Miranda Rights”?
Miranda Rights stem from a US Supreme Court ruling (Miranda v Arizona). This ruling addressed four separate cases regarding “custodial interrogations.” The term “custodial” refers to the suspect being in custody. “Interrogation” means questioning. This questioning can be in the form of an officer asking the suspect direct questions, or it can be comments or actions by the officer that the officer should know are likely to produce an incriminating reply. (Nolo.com Legal Encyclopedia)
Basically, Miranda Rights are a warning that Law Enforcement is required to let you know after your arrest and before questioning you. If Law Enforcement is going to interrogate you, they must let you know:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- If you do or say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to an attorney during your questioning or interrogation.
- If you cannot afford an attorney or lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you would like.
When is Law Enforcement required to Read you your Rights?
Whether the interrogation or questioning happens down at the Police Station, in your home, at a crime scene or on the side of the road: If you are in custody (deprived of his or her freedom of action in any significant way), Law Enforcement must read Miranda rights if they want to ask questions and use the answers as evidence against you at trial.
I was arrested for DUI and the Police did not read me my rights!
Simply put, they don’t have to. A DUI investigation occurs before any arrest is ever made. Therefore, because an arrest has not been made, you are technically not in custody, so Law Enforcement is not required to read you your Miranda Rights. After your arrest for DUI, Law Enforcement is still not required to read you your Miranda Rights. This is usually because their investigation is complete, and they do not plan on using anything you say as further evidence in a trial.
Exceptions to the Rule
Law Enforcement is not obligated to give the Miranda warnings in these situations:
- When questioning is necessary for public safety.
- When asking standard booking questions.
- When Law Enforcement have a jailhouse informant talking to the suspect.
What happens if Law Enforcement was required to read me my rights, but they did not?
Simply put, it may make some or all of the questioning or interrogation inadmissible in court and could affect the prosecution’s ability to convict you for a crime.
Talk to a Lawyer
Miranda Laws are extremely complex. Every case and situation is different. We strongly suggest that you contact a knowledgeable Criminal Defense Attorney, like Trip Walton and his experienced team at Walton Law Firm, P.C. in Auburn, Alabama.
Walton Law Firm, P.C. handles most criminal defense type cases in Auburn Alabama, Opelika Alabama, Lee County Alabama, Valley Alabama, Lanett Alabama, Chambers County Alabama.
Ready to discuss your case? Contact our experienced team of Criminal Defense and DUI lawyers for an initial case consultation*