Protecting your Constitutional rights from Miranda warning infractions may save your case!
We defend our clients constitutional rights with zeal – from Detroit to Ann Arbor, Lansing to Grand Rapids, and the rest of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
Does any of the above sound familiar? Perhaps you heard part of that wording in a movie or on television. These are the now familiar Miranda Rights or Miranda Warnings. The name comes from the United States Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona. Yet, in spite of the fact that this ruling has been around since 1966 it is often misunderstood by those who are affected most by it.
Most people have the general understanding that the police have to read them their rights. One of the most frequent complaints we hear about police is that they did not read Miranda rights to people being investigated or arrested. In fact, the police must read a suspect the Miranda Rights only when two circumstances are met: first, the suspect is in police custody, and second, the police are subjecting the suspect to interrogation. If the suspect is not considered to be either in custody or interrogated, there is no requirement that he or she be given the Miranda Rights. As you might suspect, there have been countless thousands of hearings held throughout the country examining the issue of whether a criminal defendant was in custody, or whether the conversation which occurred amounted to an interrogation. There have been many legal developments over exactly what constitutes a custodial interrogation of a suspect. It is best to consult with an attorney about your particular situation.
It is not enough that the police simply read the Miranda Warnings and then proceed with their interrogation. They must receive a knowing and voluntary waiver from the suspect of his or her rights. These waivers can be oral or written, but essentially must show that the suspect understands his or her rights and is choosing not to invoke them.
In the past, a suspect wanting to use the Constitutional right to remain silent simply had to stay silent. That would show the police that the person was invoking this right and the police had to stop the questioning for a reasonable period of time. However, in the 2010 case of Berghuis v. Thompkins, the United States Supreme Court changed this. Now, a suspect wishing to exercise this right to remain silent must affirmatively tell the police interrogators that he or she will be using the right to remain silent. Otherwise, the police may continue with their interrogation even if the suspect sits there quietly.
Even though law enforcement personnel in the United States have been working with Miranda warnings since 1966, they continue to make mistakes in procedure which can be important to the outcome of a particular criminal case. Statements made by the suspect during a custodial interrogation that lacked Miranda Rights will be suppressed in court as a result of a Constitutional Law concept called the Exclusionary Rule. Therefore, a suspect deemed to be subject to a custodial interrogation who was not read the Miranda Rights will have the benefit of having any confession or damaging statement be inadmissible in court.
As attorneys, it is our job to sort out whether these warnings were required in your case, and if so, whether they were given. In some instances, we may be able to get a confession or a damaging statement suppressed in court, which can make a difference in the outcome of a case. This can be very important because jurors have difficulty understanding the coercive and intimidating nature of a custodial interrogation. In fact, these protections are in place because it is generally recognized in our system of laws that confessions must be knowingly and voluntarily made. Harmful statements which are made by an accused when they are not knowingly and voluntarily made are deemed unreliable and are often simply not true. These types of statements have no place in court and should be suppressed. If you are dealing with any type of criminal case, you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney with a good track record to ensure your Constitutional rights were not violated. At Kronzek & Cronkright, our attorneys have over 80 combined years of experience fighting for our clients in both state and federal court.
Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation regarding your criminal matter. We can be reached at: (866) 7-NoJail.