Many people believe that just because the officer didn’t read them their Miranda rights upon being arrested, that their case should be thrown out. Unfortunately this is just not true, as Miranda rights only have to do with your right to remain silent and whether you would like an attorney present. Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Lowry is a former prosecutor and experienced defense attorney who has tried over 60 criminal jury trials. Contact Mr. Lowry to learn more about your case, the process in general, and ways to fight your charges.
What are Miranda rights? In general, they advise the suspect or person being questioned that they do not have to speak with officers; that everything they say may be used against them; and that they are entitled to an attorney present if they wish. In 1966, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona that if a government officer wants to question a suspect of a crime while the suspect is considered “in custody”, or otherwise not able to leave freely, the officer must advise him of these important rights. The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that someone being investigated for a crime or someone that may be responsible for criminal behavior shall never be required to be witness against themselves. This is often called the right to remain silent, or “pleading the 5th”, meaning you chose not to speak because it may incriminate yourself. The 6th Amendment states everyone charged with a crime has the right to an attorney at every critical stage of the investigation and prosecution, which includes being questioned by law enforcement.
So if you were questioned after arrest and were never read your rights, what do you do now? Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Lowry would file what’s called a Motion to Suppress your statements, assuming what you said is not something we want the jury to hear. If we believe your statement was taken after you were already in custody or otherwise not free to leave, and the officer never read you your Miranda rights, we would ask the Court to suppress, or keep out, any statements that were made because the officer violated your constitutional rights. The Court would hold a hearing to hear from the officer and any other witnesses who were there, and after argument, would rule on our motion. If we win, the statement is never heard by the jury, which can seriously cripple or completely destroy the case against you. If we are unsuccessful in the motion, then the state may bring your statement up for the jury to hear.
So what should you do if you are arrested and questioned? Our advice is to politely decline answering questions and request your attorney, unless you have absolutely nothing to do with anything they are questioning you about. In the end, officers are only required to read Miranda rights when they are questioning someone that is not free to leave. If you believe you were questioned and not given your rights beforehand, contact Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Lowry for a free consultation about your rights and how to move forward in your defense.