Thanks to police shows and movies, almost everyone knows their Miranda rights and they can even recite the first few lines from memory. However, Miranda rights are still widely misunderstood. This confusion can be significant if you are ever arrested or questioned in connection to a crime If you aren’t aware how your statements can be used against you and what your rights are after an arrest, you’re at serious risk of implicating yourself in a crime.
That’s why it is always best to consult a qualified criminal defense attorney before making statements to law enforcement. In Chester County, PA Skinner Law Firm can provide the guidance you need when dealing with the police or if you’ve been arrested. We’re available 24/7 and are happy to walk you through your rights and what to expect.
There are several components to a suspect’s Miranda rights. The statement given to you by police must include these facts:
Some people believe that the police and other members of law enforcement must read you your Miranda rights before or during your arrest. In fact, while many police officers do read suspects their rights during an arrest, they are not legally required to do so at this point. They must only inform you of your Miranda rights before they question you. If they begin questioning you before telling you your rights, that is a violation of your rights.
Even if you know what your Miranda rights are, it’s hard to remember the details when you’re getting arrested. The stress and pressure may put you at risk of saying something that implicates yourself or damages your case. Even worse, many police officers tell you that exercising your Miranda rights makes you look guilty or serves as evidence of your guilt. They may claim that if you are innocent, there’s no reason not to make a statement.
Under such pressure, it’s easy to crack. If you make statements to the police or answer questions without having been read your Miranda rights, all is not lost. Anything you say during an interrogation may be suppressed if the arresting officer did not follow procedure and read you your rights.
However, keep in mind that your Miranda rights do not generally protect the things you say before you are arrested. For example, if you are pulled over for a suspected DUI and the police officer asks you where you’ve been, how much you’ve had to drink, and where you’re going, anything you tell them can still be used as evidence. But, if you answer questions after being arrested without having been read your rights, those statements may be suppressed.
Another common misconception about Miranda rights hinges on what happens if an officer fails to read you your rights. You may think that this would trigger an automatic dismissal, but this simply isn’t true. A police officer only needs probable cause to arrest you. Even if some of the evidence is suppressed due to procedural errors, these oversights do not automatically lead to the dismissal of your case.
Your Miranda rights protect your Fifth Amendment right to have an attorney present during questioning and to avoid incriminating yourself. This is a cornerstone of the criminal defense system, and it’s important to report any infringements to your attorney.
At Skinner Law Firm, we are well-versed in suspects’ rights and the multitude of ways in which the criminal justice system tries to deny those rights. We know how to hold law enforcement accountable and identify when evidence should be suppressed. When you choose us for your criminal defense, you can feel confident that your rights will be respected and that every avenue will be explored to avoid conviction.