The average person doesn’t know all of their civil rights. Still, given how commonly it turns up in movies, books and television shows, many people know about the Miranda warning. When an officer informs someone of their Miranda rights, they advise them of their right to remain silent and to have an attorney help them.
Someone who is unaware of these rights could make major mistakes when interacting with law enforcement to the detriment of their case. If you believe that the police officers failed to properly Mirandize you, could that be part of your criminal defense strategy?
People misunderstand when the Miranda warning should take place
To learn if the Miranda warning could affect your criminal case, you first have to determine whether law enforcement failed to take the right steps at the right time. Many people assume that the police have to give the Miranda warning at the time of arrest because that is when they see it performed in the movies.
However, the purpose of a Miranda warning is to protect someone about to undergo police questioning. Until the officers attempt to interrogate you, they do not need to inform you of your Miranda rights. If they do not question you while you are in their custody, they don’t have to read you your rights at all. They can also question you before they arrest you without reading your rights, although they may have to advise you of your right once they determine they have grounds to arrest you.
In cases where there is a language barrier, that could play a role as well. Someone who does not understand English has the right to translation services so that they understand their Miranda rights prior to discussing the situation with the police while in state custody.
Exploring multiple defense options is the best approach
There is no one magical criminal defense strategy that works for everyone accused of a crime. Every case has unique factors that influence the best way to defend against the charges. Violations of procedure and civil rights can sometimes lead to a defense. Improperly gathered or stored evidence and the inappropriate use of technology could also factor into someone’s defense strategy.
Reviewing the evidence against you can help you start thinking about options for your own criminal defense.