A commonly held belief is that if you are arrested and the police fail to read you your rights, your case will be invalidated and possibly dismissed. This belief is not, however, accurate. If police fail to read you your Miranda rights, the relevance of that failure is that the prosecutor cannot use any statements obtained from you following your arrest in their prosecution.
To have your Miranda rights read to you is to be told the following:
You have the right to remain silent. If you say anything, what you say can be used against you in court. You have the right to consult with an attorney and have that lawyer present during any questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. If you choose to talk to the police, you have the right to stop the interview at any time.
Police are supposed to read you your Miranda warning once you are in custody – whether that custody occurs in the back of a police car, at a police station, or some other location. Custody, legally, is when a person is deprived of his or her freedom of action in any significant way. If police wish to use any statements made by the defendant as evidence in a trial, then reading the Miranda rights at this point is crucial. In contrast, any questioning of the defendant prior to custody is admissible in court without first providing a Miranda warning.
Should a statement by obtained by law enforcement in violation of your Miranda rights, then that statement cannot be used at trial, and your attorney will seek to suppress that statement to ensure its exclusion from your trial. That will be done via the filing of a Motion to Suppress Statements, which will be litigated and argued by your lawyer at a Motions Hearing sometime before your scheduled date for trial.
If you have been charged with a crime, and were not read your Miranda rights following being placed into custody, contact a Denver criminal defense attorney immediately to evaluate the effect of that failure on your case.
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.