If you are taken into custody after being arrested, the police are required to read your Miranda rights to you before questioning you. It is important to understand what Miranda rights mean and how they can affect your case. The things you say and do after an arrest can have a serious impact on the outcome of your case, so it is always a good idea to seek the counsel of experienced criminal lawyers before speaking to any law enforcement officers, investigators, or prosecutors.
The Specifics of Miranda Rights
Police are only required to read your Miranda rights if they plan to interrogate you while under custody. Once you have been read your Miranda rights, you are not required to speak or answer any questions without talking to a lawyer first. Police officers must read Miranda rights as follows:
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?
Why is it Important to Contact an Attorney before Speaking to Police?
Being arrested can be scary and overwhelming. You may be confused and say things that can hurt your case simply by the phrasing and verbiage you use. It is true that your words will be used against you by prosecutors to prove guilt. If you are arrested, do not speak to anyone, whether you are read your Miranda rights or not. If a police officer reads you your rights, politely tell them you understand them and that you do not wish to speak until your attorney is present.
Obtaining proper legal representation from a criminal defense attorney is vital to ensuring your rights are protected. A lawyer can advise you on which questions to answer during an interrogation. Criminal law firms are also familiar with local prosecutors, law enforcement, law clerks, and others involved in the process. Having an attorney who is well-versed in criminal law may lead to charges being dismissed or reduced. Attempting to defend yourself in court or speaking to law enforcement without an attorney present can have disastrous results.
What Happens if Police Fail to Read Miranda Rights?
If you are placed under arrest and the police do not read your Miranda rights, anything you say when being questioned cannot usually be used as evidence against you. In addition, any evidence that is discovered as a result of your statements will most likely be thrown out in court. However, the failure of the police to read your Miranda rights does not mean that your entire case will be dismissed or that you will not be convicted. Plenty of cases have been won by prosecutors based on evidence that has nothing to do with a suspect’s statements.
Contact an Attorney
If you have been accused of a crime or believe that your Miranda rights have been violated, our defense attorneys in West Chester can help.