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What Happens if the Police Don’t Read You Your Miranda Rights?

Posted on November 28, 2023 in

If the police fail to read you your Miranda rights at the time of arrest, this could have implications for a criminal case brought against you. While it will not automatically invalidate the arrest, the failure to read the Miranda warning could rule certain statements or evidence against you inadmissible (not allowed) in court. You are legally entitled to hear your rights as a criminal defendant.

What Are Your Miranda Rights?

Miranda rights come from the U.S. Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, in which a man was arrested, taken into custody and interrogated for two hours before signing a written confession. Upon appeal of his criminal conviction, the Supreme Court ruled that the “Fifth Amendment serves to protect persons in all settings in which their freedom of action is curtailed in any significant way from being compelled to incriminate themselves.”

In other words, the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from being compelled to be a witness against themselves. It also prevents the deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Miranda rights must be read to criminal defendants after arrest and before police interrogation so that they are aware of these rights and can use them, if desired, to protect themselves from self-incrimination.

If you are arrested, the police must tell you that you have the right to remain silent and that if you say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law. They must also state your right to have a lawyer present during any questioning and that if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you. If you are in custody and not free to leave, the police legally must read these Miranda rights to you before any type of questioning or interrogation.

Are You Free to Go if the Police Don’t Read You Your Miranda Rights?

No. It is a common misconception that an individual is free to go if the police do not read the Miranda rights upon an arrest. You cannot simply walk away from custody if you are not read your rights. However, the failure to give the Miranda warning could lead to any statements made, information gained or evidence obtained by the police from that point on being ruled inadmissible in court. The prosecution may be unable to use statements and evidence acquired against you due to the failure to read your Miranda rights.

What to Do if You Are Arrested

Whether or not you are read your Miranda rights, if you are arrested in Massachusetts, know that you have the right to remain silent and that you should use it. You legally do not have to respond to police questions. In general, the only answer you are legally required to give is your name if asked to provide identification information. Let the police officer know that you are invoking your right to remain silent and that you would like to speak to an attorney.

If the police fail to give a Miranda warning after you are arrested, tell this to the criminal defense attorneys at Spring & Spring for personalized legal advice. Your attorney may be able to use this mistake to your advantage to have certain evidence against you barred from being entered into court. In some cases, this could lead to the entire case being dismissed due to insufficient evidence. For more information about the Miranda rule and how it may affect your case, call us at (617) 513-9444 for a free consultation with a Concord criminal defense lawyer.