Those accused of criminal activity benefit from certain protections under the law. The right to receive formal notice of specific legal protections is one of the most important protections for those facing investigation or prosecution. An individual’s Miranda rights are an extension of the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment protects people from self-incrimination when accused of criminal misconduct in the United States. The United States Supreme Court ruled decades ago in a criminal case that police officers had violated the rights of the defendant.
Ever since that ruling, police officers have needed to provide the Miranda warning in certain circumstances. The Miranda warning involves informing individuals of their right to remain silent and their right to have an attorney present when interacting with law enforcement professionals. What would it mean for someone’s criminal trial if officers did not provide them with the Miranda warning?
A violation of someone’s rights can undermine the evidence
Police officers must carefully comply with the law when investigating criminal activity. Failing to do so could harm the state’s case. When a defense attorney can convince a judge that police officers did not follow established best practices or violated the rights of a defendant, they can potentially exclude certain evidence from the criminal proceedings.
In a scenario involving a Miranda violation, the evidence would likely be a confession or statements made during a police interrogation. A defense attorney could keep that evidence out of court. In some cases, excluding evidence will even lead to the dismissal of pending charges. Criminal defendants must understand what constitutes a Miranda warning violation to establish whether they are in a position to exclude certain evidence from criminal proceedings. Many people do not understand when officers should provide the Miranda warning.
Police officers do not need to provide the Miranda warning when they arrest someone. Instead, it is mandatory after an arrest but before police officers question someone who is in state custody. If officers question someone without informing them of their right to remain silent and their rights to legal representation, then the statements made during that questioning may be inadmissible during a criminal trial.
Understanding how police behavior can undermine the state’s case may benefit those hoping to defend against pending criminal charges.