If police question me without first reading Miranda rights, can my case be thrown out?
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UPDATED: Feb 22, 2011
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A defendant’s statement given during custodial interrogation will not be admissible in court unless his constitutional rights as set down in Miranda v Arizona have been observed. Under the law, police cannot question a defendant unless he or she is first advised of Miranda rights and voluntarily waives them. When the police fail to properly advise a defendant of his or her Miranda rights, the defendant or defendant’s attorney can suppress any statement the defendant gives during questioning upon application. If the defense does not ask that the statement be suppressed based on the fact that the defendant was not read his Miranda warnings, it can still be used against the defendant in court.
Even if a statement is suppressed because of a violation of the defendant’s Miranda rights, it does not mean the case will end at that time. Once a criminal case is filed, the only way it can be “thrown out” of court is if the prosecution withdraws the charges, or if the judge or jury dismisses the charges because of insufficient evidence.
Most of the time, the evidence in a criminal case will consist of more than just a statement taken from the defendant by the police. This additional evidence, even without the defendant’s statement, can be enough to convict him or her of the crimes with which he or she has been charged. Most of the time, the suppression of a defendant’s statements because of a violation of Miranda rights is not enough to warrant a dismissal of the case.
It should also be noted that the police do not have to give the Miranda warnings prior to arresting a suspect. These warnings only have to be given prior to questioning by the police. Law enforcement authorities also do not have to advise a defendant of his Miranda rights before asking basic background questions like an individual’s name, age, or address.