One of the most common misconceptions about police investigatory practices centers around Miranda rights. Everyone who has seen one of the twenty versions of CSI knows that the police usually read a defendant their rights prior to arrest. “You have the right to remain silent.” (Unfortunately, most people who have the right don’t have the ability – but that’s for another post…). “You have the right an attorney,” and so on. But what happens if the police don’t read you your rights?
Most criminal defendants believe that if the police don’t read the Miranda warnings that the case should be dismissed. That is, unfortunately, a common misconception. The protections provided by Miranda limit the government’s ability to use any statements made when that person is interrogated while in custody. The remedy isn’t dismissal; it’s suppression. If you made a statement when the police should have provided the Miranda warnings, then that means the government cannot use that statement or any evidence that was obtained through the “fruit of the poisonous tree” as a result of the bad confession.
If the government has other evidence beyond the statement, you may still be found guilty, even if the police did not give the warnings. If the confession was the only evidence that they had against you, then perhaps your case would be dismissed if the statement was suppressed. Just understand that the failure of law enforcement does not automatically mean dismissal. If you have been charged in Western Tidewater with a criminal offense and you aren’t sure whether your rights have been violated, contact one of the experienced criminal attorneys at Randall Page, P.C. to protect your rights.