I Wasn’t Read my Rights
Posted on Mar 24, 2014 in Criminal Defense
In the United States, you have certain rights in your interactions with the criminal justice system. To ensure that you know your legal rights, police officers have to inform you of the protections provided to you by law. The Supreme Court made the decision that you needed to be officially informed of your rights in a 1966 case called Miranda v. Arizona. This is why you have probably heard the phrase Miranda Warning to describe the statement that police officers need to make.
If police officers fail to read you your rights, prosecutors may be prevented from using certain information you provide against you in a court of law. As we explain in our video I Wasn’t Read my Rights, only certain kinds of evidence are excluded in situations where you were not properly informed of your Miranda rights. A New Orleans criminal defense lawyer can evaluate your situation to determine if you can keep evidence out of court.
What Happens When You Were Not Read Your Rights
The Miranda Warning stipulates that you have the right to remain silent and anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You also have the right to consult an attorney and have an attorney present when speaking to the police. If you are unable to afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
The purpose of this warning is to ensure that your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination is protected, as is your right to legal representation. If police don’t read you your rights, anything said in a subsequent interrogation cannot be used to secure a criminal conviction. In other words, if you confess to murder but were not read your rights, the confession will not be admissible in a court of law. In addition, any evidence that police collect as a result of statements made in an illegal interrogation may also not be usable because it is considered “fruit of the poison tree.”
This does not mean that every single bit of evidence the police have will be kept out of court just because the officers did not read you your rights. As we explain in the video on the police obligation to read your rights, evidence that police collect that wasn’t dependent upon your statements could still be used to secure a conviction. When a police officer pulls you over for swerving and you fail a blood alcohol test, for example, this evidence can still be used even if you were not read your rights before being administered the test.
To make the argument that evidence should be suppressed because you were not read your rights, you will actually need to prove that the police officer failed to give you the Miranda warning. The police officer must have actually been under an obligation to issue this warning as well. Typically, this happens only if you are in custody. If you simply walk up to a police officer and confess a crime, this confession will not be suppressed because you were not read your rights.
To learn more about your options if you believe you were not read your rights when you should have been, watch our video on I Wasn’t Read my Rights or contact an experienced New Orleans criminal defense lawyer to evaluate your case.