Criminal defense in California is a complex area of legal practice with numerous misconceptions that are often held as popular belief. The majority of people arrested for their first criminal charge have no experience with the criminal justice system and, therefore, routinely rely on what they’ve seen on television and in movies. Much of what is popularized in TV and film is embellished, which further adds to the myths and misconceptions about the criminal justice system and more specifically, the California criminal justice system. One of the most common myths involves what happens if the police fail to read you your rights.
What is the Miranda warning?
Derived from the landmark United States Supreme Court ruling in the case of Miranda vs. The State of Arizona, the “Miranda Rights” as it has come to be known as are the Constitutional rights you maintain while in police custody. Among your rights, you have the right to an attorney and a right to remain silent. The common misconception among many people is that if the police fail to read them their rights or Miranda warning, it serves as a legal basis for all charges to be dropped. This is not the case as it is not uncommon for police officers to make arrests without reading a suspect his/her rights. The legal technicality with respect to the Miranda warning is simply based on whether you have been placed under arrest and whether the police interrogated you while in their custody. A Miranda violation would exist if you were placed under arrested and questioned by police without first being read your rights. However, if no interrogation or interview is conducted while you’re in police custody, the Miranda rights become a nonissue.
What happens to criminal charges after a Miranda violation?
If a person’s rights against self-incrimination are violated, the common misconception is that the Miranda violation would invalidate all of the evidence against him/her and should, thus, result in all charges being dismissed. The truth is a Miranda violation would present an opportunity for a skilled criminal defense lawyer to file motions with the court arguing for the suppression of evidence and statements captured by law enforcement as a result of the violation of his/her client’s rights. However, a successfully argued motion for suppression of evidence would simply eliminate the evidence discovered as a result of the Miranda violation, not all of the evidence captured or discovered “legally.” Therefore, a person whose Miranda rights were violated can still be prosecuted and potentially convicted as only the evidence deemed illegally seized due to the rights violation would be suppressed. Whereas if you’re prosecuted for a crime where all the evidence against you was obtained illegally due to a violation of your Miranda rights, charges could be entirely dismissed if all of the prosecution’s evidence is suppressed.
For more questions regarding Miranda violations, contact our criminal defense firm for a free consultation today
The criminal defense lawyers at Sitkoff & Hanrahan, LLP have specialized in criminal and DUI defense in Los Angeles since 1987. If you have been arrested for a felony or misdemeanor offense and believe your rights may have been violated by police, call us at (866) 430-8383 for a free case review.