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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Conroe Criminal Defense Attorney - Top 3 things you didn't know about the right to remain silent.

Conroe Criminal Defense Attorney - Brian Foley - Board Certified in Criminal Law

Everyone has heard that the police have to read you your rights. We have all seen on TV that "You have the right to remain silent, any statement you make can and will be used against you, you have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to you." The Supreme Court held in Miranda v. Arizona that the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution which protects you from being forced to be a witness against yourself, requires the police to inform you of these rights. If you are under arrest and they ask you questions without reading you your rights then then they can't use your statement against you. Here's the top three things you probably didn't know about these rights.

3. If you aren't under arrest then they can ask you all the questions they want and use your answers against you. According to the Supreme Court the 5th Amendment only requires your rights be read to you when you have been subject to "custodial interrogation." This means you have to be arrested and in "custody." Then you have to get asked questions by an officer or "interrogated."

2. Even if your statement was obtained illegally it can still be used against you if you testify at trial to something different than what you said before. If you say something different on the witness stand at trial then even if your statement was obtained illegally because you were not read your rights. The Supreme Court held in Harris v. New York 401 U.S. 222 (1971) that a statement illegally obtained by police could still be used when the defendant denied commission of the crime at trial but had previously confessed to police prior to being read his rights under Miranda.

1. Miranda rights only protect statements of the defendant not other evidence. The only kind of evidence that gets excluded because your rights were not read to you would be statements that you made to the police after you were under arrest. This means that if your rights were never read to you but the police smelled marijuana in the vehicle and conduct a probable cause search then any drugs that are found will still be admissible and you may still get convicted even though your rights were never read to you.

Prosecutors will sometimes look at the case more closely if they think that a good confession will no longer be available because of a Miranda violation, but getting your case dismissed may still be a difficult task that you will need help with from a trained Criminal Defense Attorney.


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