What does it benefit a defendant, if his/her Miranda rights were not read?

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What does it benefit a defendant, if his/her Miranda rights were not read?

This someone has already been arraigned. Still, no Miranda? Can a case be won or thrown out because of this? What are the possible out comes for the defendant?

Asked on March 4, 2011 under Criminal Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is a common misconception that a person can "beat the case" if they are not read their Miranda rights when they are arrested. The fact is that the Miranda warning must only be given if a person is in custody and questioned. So if you were questioned prior to being placed into custody, no Miranda warning need have been given.  However, once a person is in custody and then questioned without being "Mirandized" (read their rights), then any statements made cannot be used against them.  If this is what happened to you, then your constitutional rights were indeed violated.  While a case will not automatically be thrown out because of this, if the statements that cannot be used were critical to make the prosecutions case, then the case may be dismissed for lack of evidence.  Whether or not a defendant's Miranda rights were violated is very fact specific.

Note:  There are 2 exceptions to the above: the statements were voluntarily and knowingly made anyway (ie the defendant waived his rights); or the questioning was incidental to the booking process (ie. just basic questions regarding name, address, etc).

At this point, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney (if you haven't already done so or if a PD hasn't already been appointed).


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