Are The Police Required To Read You Your Rights?

July 28, 2023 | By Fulgham Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys
Are The Police Required To Read You Your Rights?

You have been arrested. Were the police supposed to read you your Miranda rights? Can your case be thrown out if they did not read you your rights?

Hi, I am Brandon Fulgham with the Fulgham Law Firm. Thank you for joining us here today, and I want to welcome you to our YouTube channel because today I am going to talk about that. What if the police did not read you your rights? Some officer arrests you, you do not have your rights read to you – what happens now? I probably get this question more than any other question that I get a couple of times a week about this issue. Can my case be thrown out? By the way, if you wait around until the end of this video, I will also give you a free eBook on what to do if you have been charged with a crime in Texas. Okay, now...

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Should Your Case Be Thrown Out If The Police Didn't Read Your Miranda Rights?

Is it true that your case should be thrown out if the police did not read your Miranda rights? Unfortunately, no. Almost always, the answer to that question is no. Remember, what does it mean to read you your rights? People say that. What does that mean? We are talking about Miranda rights. You know what they are. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed. You know all that, the whole process, right? Everyone knows. You see it on TV.

When Does A Police Officer Have To Read You Your Miranda Rights?

What you see in the movies or legal shows are not always accurate. When does a police officer have to, or an investigator have to read you your Miranda rights? Here is the key, only if they plan to ask you questions, okay? Miranda rights are only important as it relates to confessions, anything that you might possibly say to the officer.

Let me give you a common example where a police officer will choose to arrest someone and not read them their Miranda rights? Let us say a police officer shows up on the outside of a house, and they have a search warrant. They come and execute that search warrant and find drugs in the residence, along with some identifying information like a wallet or some utility bills. Based on this information, they arrest the owner of the home. In this situation, if the police think they have enough evidence, they may not read that person their Miranda rights at all. They will just take them into custody, book them in, and there will be no conversation whatsoever.

You may say, "Yeah, but wait a minute, aren't they supposed to read you your rights?" Well, yes, technically they should read you your rights, but it is not going to result in your case being dismissed or thrown out unless the entire case was based upon a confession. For the most part, if they are relying primarily on what you said as the basis for tying you to a particular crime, then you might have a different story.

Now, Miranda rights were created by the United States Supreme Court in the Miranda vs. Arizona case. Essentially, it came about when someone was not read their rights and was manipulated in a way where they did not realize they could remain silent. The Supreme Court established that you do not have to cooperate with a police officer asking you questions and interrogating you whenever they are investigating you.

Under the Fifth Amendment, you have the right to remain silent. Now, if the officer fails to read you your rights, then you could be talking about anything that you said being thrown out. In order for that to happen, we have to do a quick analysis. Number one, here is what the Supreme Court has said:

Number one, in order for that to be thrown out and for a confession to be ruled inadmissible, was the person in custody? In custody means, in other words, was the accused free to leave at the time? For example, if an officer walks up to someone and starts talking to them, most courts have interpreted this as a consensual encounter between the two people, and you are not in custody at that moment. However, if an officer detains you, puts you in handcuffs, and starts asking you questions, or maybe puts you in the back of a police car and you are sitting there in the car, and he gets in there and starts talking to you, that is a different story. Almost all courts have interpreted that situation, if you are in cuffs or you are in the back of a car, you are not free to leave. So, if an officer fails to read you your Miranda rights in that situation, any statements that you make subsequently could be excluded for consideration as evidence.

Okay, so that's number one: Are you in custody? Number two: Was the person being interrogated? This is important as well. So, in addition to having been in custody, not free to leave, you must have been interrogated by the officer. In other words, interrogation means you were being asked questions by the officer when you started talking. And the reason I say this is a common problem we have found is, what about when there are no questions being asked and this happens all the time? You have somebody that gets nervous because they are getting arrested, they try to start figuring out a way to talk their way out of being arrested. So, they are sitting there, and they are like, "Oh hey officer, what am I going to jail for? You know, hey, listen, all I was doing was hanging out over here. I wasn't trying to do anything crazy."

Well, now the officer's not asking you any questions; you are just spewing from the mouth. And they call those spontaneous statements. Literally, you are just saying things on your own. And so, as a result of that, you must be interrogated. It is not enough that you are in custody; you must also be asked questions by the officer. If you are not being asked anything, and you just start talking, it is coming into evidence. Okay, so keep your mouth shut. That is one good thing to realize according to the law.

Finally, what if the police do not read you your rights and if they were violated, what can your lawyer do about it? Well, there is something called a motion to suppress. So, your attorney can file a motion to suppress, demand a suppression hearing, go down the elements of what the law says related to Miranda rights, and also apply those facts to the law, pre-trial. Essentially, the judge may be able to rule that that confession is to be thrown out or any statements that were made, thrown out. That could provide you with reasonable doubt for your case. It could also result in you being able to resolve your case in a much more favorable way.

Okay, now what is the real lesson here? Even though the police should always read your rights, the reality of it is, it does not change the fact you have rights. Do not worry about Miranda rights, when you are going to exercise your right under the Fifth Amendment to remain silent, take the Fifth, do not say anything else to the officer. Do not let that police officer twist or misinterpret what you are saying. Okay, now listen, I hope this video has been helpful to you. I promised you a free eBook on what to do if you have been charged with a crime in Texas. Click down to the notes at the bottom, send over your email, we will be happy to send that back to you. I want to thank you for joining us here today. Subscribe to our YouTube channel; we will send you more great content just like this. Thank you.

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