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Miranda Rights

California Miranda Rights Violations

If you are arrested for a crime in California, you might be read your Miranda rights, including your legal right to an attorney. Most people are familiar with the infamous term "Miranda rights" from watching movies, but most people have no personal experience.

There are various versions, but the standard Miranda warning says, "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? Do you wish to speak to me with these rights in mind?"

California Miranda Rights Violations
Police must explain your Miranda rights before questioning you or seeking statements.

There are many common myths associated with being read your rights. The most common is that a police officer must read your rights before arrest. However, there are rules that police must follow, and you are entitled to know your legal rights. If your rights are violated, then law enforcement should be held accountable.

"Miranda rights" were established by the 1966 Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona. The court ruled that the constitutional rights of Ernesto Miranda were violated during his arrest and trial for armed robbery, kidnapping, and rape.

The law requires police officers to explain your Miranda rights after your arrest before questioning you or seeking formal statements while you are in their custody.

Unfortunately, many people believe that if they are arrested and the police do not read their rights, they can avoid the consequences of their actions. This is another common myth, but there are exceptions.

Suppose you're charged with any crime in California and believe that law enforcement didn't adequately explain or violate your Miranda rights. In that case, you should consult with a California criminal defense attorney. Let's take a closer look at common issues surrounding Miranda rights below.

Miranda Warning - Quick Facts

  • Miranda rights, also called Miranda warning, is a statement of your rights that is to be explained by police before any questioning or interrogation.
  • If police detain you, a Miranda warning must be read before they ask potentially incriminating questions.
  • It doesn't matter where an interrogation occurs. If you are in police custody, they must read your Miranda rights if they want to ask questions.
  • Law enforcement must explain the Miranda rights to ensure you understand them before any interrogation after an arrest.
  • If you are not in police custody, no Miranda warning is required, and anything you say can be used against you.
  • The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows you to refrain from making statements that may incriminate you.
  • The Sixth Amendment guarantees you the right to a lawyer after being accused of a crime.
  • If the police fail to read your rights before questioning, your answers might be considered inadmissible in court and can't be used against you.
  • Miranda rights are also guaranteed at the federal level and apply when you are detained and questioned by any federal law enforcement agents.
  • There is broad confusion over how Miranda rights apply and when police are required to read them.
  • It's a myth that these rights must always be read when someone is arrested.

What is a Miranda Warning?

The Miranda warnings summarize your Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. Law enforcement must legally read them to you after you are arrested but before questioning begins about an alleged crime.

Police officers often avoid arresting someone so they don't have to give a Miranda warning. This means they can arrest a suspect after eliciting the incriminating information they were seeking.

If the police are interrogating you, whether they tell you this or not, you always have the right to remain silent. If the police fail to read this warning before asking you questions, any evidence acquired could be deemed inadmissible in court.

A law enforcement officer can violate your Miranda rights in other ways rather than just failing to read them when required, such as the following:

  • Refusing to allow you to have a lawyer present during questioning.
  • Making attempts to coerce self-incriminating statements.
  • Use manipulative tactics, such as forcing a confession out of you.

If police violate your legal rights, your statements are inadmissible in court, and the judge could decide to dismiss the case entirely.

What is a Miranda Waiver?

As noted, some mistakenly believe police must read their rights during an arrest. However, this only applies if the police intend to interrogate you. Thus, they don't have to read your Miranda rights if you are not questioned. If they plan to ask you questions, they will typically read your rights and then ask if you are willing to answer them.

If you agree, you have just waived your Miranda rights and invoked the right to remain silent. Sometimes, you might be asked to sign a written waiver acknowledging that you have waived your rights.

As noted, if police question you without waiving your rights, your answers cannot be used as evidence against you. You have the legal right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions, even if they don't tell you.

If the police decide to use the information from unlawful questioning, your defense lawyer can file a motion to suppress evidence, possibly leading to a case dismissal.

Can You Still Be Convicted?

Yes. If law enforcement fails to read your Miranda rights, it does not make the arrest invalid; somewhat, it only invalidates the answers you gave them during questioning, so those answers can't be used to prove your guilt.

Miranda Rights Violations

You can still be charged with the crime, and the district attorney might have other evidence to obtain a conviction. However, if the only evidence is your unlawful interrogation, that evidence might be deemed inadmissible, and the judge will often dismiss the criminal charges.

Simply put, Miranda violations are not necessarily grounds for dismissing the charges against you. However, information given to police, such as a confession, can't be used in court to convict you.

This is why it is essential to have an experienced California defense attorney who can evaluate your case and fight the prosecution in cases where your rights were violated. Contact us for more information. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles, CA.

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