We’ve all seen on TV, whether its COPS, NCIS or some police drama show, that once someone is arrested they are “Read their Rights”. You know “You have the right to remain silent, anything that you say can and will be used against you. You have the right to have an attorney present during any questioning, and if you cannot afford an attorney, then one will be appointed to represent you. Having these rights in mind, will you speak with me?”
The way that TV portrays police officer’s requirement to follow the United States Supreme Court decision of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) often creates confusion in how a person’s 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination is protected in a real situation.
Miranda Rights are a safeguard against a police officer violating your 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Miranda Rights are protected by what is referred to as the “Exclusionary Rule” which affect is that if the authorities gather evidence or statements in violation of a recognized constitutional right, then the Government is not allowed to use that evidence, or any evidence that stems from the initial tainted evidence. Therefore, if you are not charged or arrested, even if the officer should have advised you of your Miranda Rights, there is no remedy that you have for the police officer’s conduct, because there is no case to exclude those statements.
When does an officer have to read you your Miranda Rights?
When you are in “custodial interrogation”. Custodial interrogation includes the combination of the following:
- Custody – When you are in contact with an officer, and a reasonable person would not feel free to leave. This objective test covers not only situations where you are told that you are under arrest, but can include situations where you are handcuffed in the back of a cruiser, taken back to the police department for a long interview, and other situations where your freedom to break contact with the police no longer exists. The fact that you were not told you were under arrest at the time you made the statements doesn’t automatically make those statements admissible.
- Interrogation – When an officer’s words or actions are likely to illicit an incriminating response, that is legally considered an interrogation. This includes formal questions after you are told you are under arrest, but also includes officer’s behavior or statements in your presence that is likely to have you make incriminating statements.
If you are in a situation that is considered Custodial Interrogation, then the authorities must read you your Miranda Rights. It is important to note that “Spontaneous Statements as well as statements in which you have no expectation of privacy are not protected by Miranda.
For example, if 2 people are arrested and placed in the back of the police cruiser, and a police officer hears a discussion between the 2 arrestees, then those statements are not protected by Miranda, and prosecutors are free to use any incriminating statement that was overheard.
Likewise, if a person invokes his Miranda Rights, doesn’t answer questions, but on the way to the jail makes an incriminating statement not in response to anything that the office has said or done, this incriminating statement is admissible as well. So if you ever find yourself in the back of a police cruiser, remember whatever you say will be heard by the officer, and likely used against you even if you just asked for an attorney.
Just because you were nervous when the officer ready you your Miranda Rights and gave a full confession all is not automatically lost. Even if you told the officer everything that would appear to make defending your case a waste of time and money, a thorough review of how the officer conducted his questioning of you can yield a significant benefit. Call Taracks & Associates at 813-281-2897, for a Free Consultation so that we can discuss the facts of your case, and see if part or all of the statements that you made to the police can be excluded and thrown out of court.
We at Taracks & Associates have been successful in asserting our client’s 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in front of judges throughout the State of Florida. In cases in which we are able to present the factual scenario surrounding incriminating statements that are a violation of Miranda, then the Court must exclude the incriminating statements from your case.
If an officer did not read you your rights, or committed some other constitutional violation of your rights, we can develop a strategy to work to keep out the evidence in violation of your Constitutional Rights. Once a statement is ruled by a judge as gathered in violation of Miranda and the 5th Amendment, then prosecutors cannot use this evidence. This weakens their case against you.
Please keep in mind that just because a statement may be thrown out, that doesn’t mean your entire case is automatically won. A prosecutor can still use the remaining evidence to try to prove the case against you, it just becomes more difficult. Often, when incriminating statements become an issue in a case, that can result in a significantly beneficial plea negotiation.
Call the Attorneys at Taracks & Associates at 813-281-2897, so that we can discuss whether your Miranda Rights, or other constitutional rights were violated, and we can begin to prepare your defense.