What to do if I was arrested for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance but was never read my Miranda rights?

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What to do if I was arrested for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance but was never read my Miranda rights?

I spent 2 weeks in jail. Can this case be dismissed based on the fact that I was not read my rights? I do not have enough money for a lawyer and my public defender is denying that this will make any difference in my case. This is also not the last time this has happened to me also.

Asked on December 20, 2012 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is a common misconception that a person can have their case dismissed if they are not read their "rights" at the time of their arrest. This is a myth. The Miranda warning must only be given if a person is in custody and questioned afterward. However, once a person is in custody and then questioned without being Mirandized, any statements so made cannot be used.

The are 2 exceptions: if the statements were voluntarily and knowingly made any way (i.e. the defendant "waived his rights"); or if the questioning was incidental to the booking process (i.e. basic questions regarding name, address, etc).

Note: Additionally, any questioning before being taken into custody is legal.


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