BloomLegalTV: “I Wasn’t Read My Rights”

Posted on Oct 27, 2011 in Bloom Legal TV

There have been many questions submitted to Bloom Legal concerning Miranda rights. Bloom Legal has a robust criminal defense practice, with clients often wondering, “I wasn’t read my Miranda rights. Do I have an out?”

We’ve all seen Cops and CSI, but the use of Miranda Rights is based on 1966 Miranda v. Arizona. In this important case it was ruled that, prior to interrogation: the person in custody must be clearly informed that he/she has the right to remain silent, that anything that the person says will be used against them in court, that he/she has the right to consult with an attorney, to have that attorney present during questioning, and that if he/she is an indigent (unable to afford an attorney) a public defender will be provided at no cost.

Here’s an example. A man is driving drunk on his way home from the bar and swerves off the road. The police come and detain him, at which point they administer a blood test that shows his BAC to be double the legal limit. He can’t walk, and shouts at the officer that he has had 20 drinks that night. The officer arrests the man without reading him his Miranda Rights, and takes him to jail.

What does that mean? As Miranda states, anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law. Other evidence is not excluded by Miranda, so in the above scenario the offender would first need to prove he was never read his rights; proof will always be needed, as every time an officer writes an arrest report they must explicitly state that they read the offender their Miranda Rights. If the offender can actually prove that he was never read his rights, then his “20 drink” statement will not be accepted in a court of law. However, the fact that he swerved off the road and failed a blood test is still admissible, and will be used against him.

Although this scenario works as an example, the issue of Miranda rights usually comes into play at the police station during interrogations. This is most often a situation involving an offender who is young or confused, has not been informed of their Miranda rights, and makes a statement that is self-incriminating. That being said, Police, FBI, and DEA all know to check the Miranda box, especially during an interrogation, so it is rare that a Miranda-based defense actually gives someone an “out”.

Nothing I say should be construed as actual legal advice. Each and every case is different, with its own particular set of circumstances and facts. This is why it is so important to have a lawyer look at each and every case individually in your jurisdiction. If you have any other questions concerning Miranda rights, or the law in general, give us a call at 504-599-9997, or email us at info@bloomlegal.com.

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