The Police Did Not Read My Miranda Rights Does My Case Get Dismissed?

We often get asked this question by clients. The short answer is no. The long answer requires a little more explaining and for our clients they appreciate knowledge.

Miranda rights are those constitutional rights that each of us has to remain silent (aka not have your own words be used against you in court) and to talk with a lawyer before answering police questions.

Miranda rights are invoked when an individual is in police custody only if the police want to question you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the street in handcuffs or in the jail house they cannot use your statements against you without reading Miranda.

The exception is when a defendant randomly blurts out things without being asked any questions by a police officer. Those statements can be used against the defendant because the police did not solicit the response.

As a general rule getting statements suppressed do not get an entire cased dismissed. Instead what it can do it create leverage to get a better plea deal from the prosecutor. For example, I filed a motion to suppress statements in a Grand Theft case where the client was alleged to have stolen tires from an auto shop.

The State had a video of the incident (which was not the greatest) and the testimony of a witness who did not see the crime happen but who could place my client at the scene around the time the tires were stolen. My client was arrested when he returned to the store to return a defective product the same day.

The police arrested him and began questioning him without the benefit of reading him Miranda. When I got the police report it was clear from the report that Miranda had not been read and my client even told me it had not been. I filed a motion to compel discovery from the State for all evidence related to the alleged confession. The State advised me there was none so I filed a motion to suppress statements.

The plea offer prior to filing the motion was 24 months in Florida State Prison (my client had a long criminal history and had recently been released from prison). On the day of the motion the State offered my client time served on the felony, which my client took because he did not want to risk going to trial (even though in my opinion he had a great trial case).

If the judge had granted the motion the case would not have been dismissed. But the statements/confession would not be admissible at trial. However, the motion being filed made the prosecutor reevaluate her case and she realized that she might have not had the best case for trial.

 

 

Houson R. Lafrance

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