Watch any crime or legal series on TV, and you’re sure to hear the term “Miranda rights” thrown around at least a time or two. And while there is certainly a lot on crime TV that is not accurate, the fact that those arrested and charged with a crime have Miranda rights certainly is true. The following provides an overview of what Miranda rights are, and why they are important for you as a person facing criminal charges–
What Are Miranda Rights and What’s a Miranda Warning?
On June 13, 1966, the Miranda rights and Miranda warning were established by virtue of the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in Miranda v. Arizona. The case is based on Ernesto Miranda, who was accused of the kidnap and rape of a young woman. Not knowing that he didn’t have to say anything at all, Miranda gave a confession to the crime during interrogation, although he later recanted it. When the ACLU took on his appeal, they claimed that the confession was coerced and false. The case made its way through the court system, with the Supreme Court essentially overturning the conviction and declaring that before a subject can be interrogated, they must be made aware of their Constitutional rights.
Today, it is standard procedure to give a Miranda warning, that is, to inform a person who has been arrested or is being interrogated that:
- They have the right to remain silent;
- They have the right to an attorney;
- If they cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided; and
- Anything said can be used against them.
What Happens If I’m not Read My Miranda Rights?
Many people assume that if they are not read their Miranda rights, their case will be thrown out. However, this is not the case. While it is true that police are required to read a Miranda warning when a suspect is in custody, if they do not, the consequence for the prosecution is that any evidence obtained from the defendant from the time that the defendant was in custody (i.e. arrested) and the time their rights were finally read cannot be used against the defendant. However, it does not mean that charges against a defendant will simply be dropped. For example, if a defendant told police that the defendant was guilty of the crime, but the police had not yet given the Miranda warning, then this confession of guilt could not be used against the defendant to secure a conviction.
Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Protecting Your Legal Rights
If you are someone who has been arrested and charged with a crime, it is very important that you are read your Miranda rights. If you believe that your right to hear the Miranda warning read to you has been violated, or that any of your other Constitutional rights have been breached, you need legal counsel immediately.
At The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski, we are passionate about ensuring that justice is preserved. This means that we work hard to protect our clients from an unjust criminal system.
If you are facing criminal charges, you don’t have to go through the criminal defense process on your own. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how our experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer can help you.