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An introduction to Miranda violations

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Mistakes by police officers and prosecutors can have a direct impact on someone’s trial. For example, if there is a violation of someone’s basic rights, their defense attorney could potentially use the police misconduct that they experienced as a way to help them suppress some of the state’s evidence.

For example, a Miranda violation could potentially lead the courts to exclude statements made in police custody or even confessions signed by a defendant from their trial. Many people think that there was a Miranda violation at the time of their arrest. However, misinformation about the Miranda warning is common, in part because of popular media.

What are the rules for the Miranda warning?

Following a crucial Supreme Court ruling decades ago, police departments around the country had to change how they interacted with those in state custody. They have a lawful obligation to provide someone with a warning about their basic rights before interrogating or questioning them. Individuals should know about their right to remain silent and their right to an attorney even if the local police department has to hire an interpreter to communicate that information to them.

What is the misunderstanding?

What many people don’t understand about the Miranda warning is that it is not necessary at the time of the arrest. Although that is what many TV shows and movies depict, officers don’t automatically provide the Miranda warning when they put someone in handcuffs or place them in a police vehicle. Instead, the Miranda warning is necessary only before questioning someone in state custody. Officers can talk to someone not under arrest without giving them the Miranda warning. They can also arrest someone and even charge them with a crime without ever providing the Miranda warning if they don’t question that individual while they are in state custody.

In scenarios where officers do question someone after arresting them but do not advise them of their Miranda rights, a defense attorney could potentially use that failure to keep their statements or confession from serving as evidence in their trial. Seeking legal guidance and learning more about the rights of criminal defendants may benefit those who are currently facing charges or who are subject to an investigation.