What If Police Don’t Read You Your Miranda Rights?
Getting arrested for drugs has a way of changing your plans around some. While there are many things that will happen all at once, it is important that you know your rights. While obtaining a good drug defense attorney in Houston is an important first step, you might also be wondering whether it will help your case if the arresting officer failed to read you your Miranda rights.
Understanding Your Miranda Rights
First, here are some important facts about your Miranda rights.
What are your rights?
- You have the right to remain silent.
- If you do say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to have a lawyer present during questioning.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you so desire.
Officers are required to read these rights to any individual who has been arrested and will be questioned. This requirement stems from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miranda v. Arizona. Regardless of where you are at the time of questioning, if you are in police custody, you must have your rights read to you in order to use your statements against you in a court of law.
Police Questioning Before Arrest
If you have not been arrested and the police question you, they are not required to read the Miranda rights. This is because you are free to go or, in other words, not in police custody, and they will often make a point of reminding you that you are free to go. You still have the right to remain silent, but the police are not required to remind you of this if you are not under arrest. Anything that you say can be used against you in this situation, and often a police officer will attempt to obtain incriminating statements prior to arresting a suspect in order to avoid reading the Miranda rights.
After you have been arrested, your rights are read to you, and the age old wisdom is to keep your mouth shut until you have consulted with a criminal defense attorney. The specifics of a situation may change the rules a bit, but in general, you should have your rights read to you after your arrest and before you are asked any further questions.
Failure to Read Miranda Rights
If the police fail to read you your rights prior to questioning you, this changes the outcome a bit. While it does not reverse the arrest, and it does not exclude any physical evidence the police may have found relating to your arrest, it does exclude any statements you make after the arrest. Your statements, if found to be incriminating, cannot be used as evidence of your guilt in a trial if you did not have your Miranda rights read to you first.
Violating Miranda rights can also happen when statements are coerced from a suspect, as this would be considered an involuntary confession. There are many nuances to the Miranda rule, so if you have been arrested, you should have a lawyer explain how the law applies to your specific situation.