Miranda Rights

One of the questions I get the most is “The officer didn’t read me my Miranda Rights. Is this enough to get my case dismissed?” The answer is generally no. Miranda Rights are very popular because of tv and movies. Everyone knows them, and can usually recite them by heart. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in a court of law…” For a full list of the Miranda Rights follow this link.

The Miranda Rights come to use from the case of Miranda v. Arizona. The case may be found here.

Miranda Rights Don’t Apply In Most Cases

Despite their popularity Miranda Rights do not apply in most arrest situations. In order for Miranda to apply there must be custodial interrogation. What this means is someone must be in police custody i.e. they are not free to leave, and they must be interrogated, or questioned. Absent these 2 requirements Miranda does not apply. Since this does not happen in most police arrest situations Miranda is not going to apply in their case. Many times people are not in custody when they are questioned (even though they may not feel like they are free to leave). On the other hand, if people are in custody they are not being questioned.

Miranda Rights Do Not Apply In Most DUI Arrests

You are not entitled to have your Miranda Rights read to you during a DUI investigation. The Georgia appellate courts have ruled that drivers suspected of DUI are not in “custody.” As ridiculous as this notion is because we know you are not free to leave when the officer asks you to perform field sobriety tests, the appeals courts disagree.

Miranda Rights do apply in DUI cases where you have been arrested, and then the officer asks you to perform field sobriety tests or submit to a portable breath test. In this scenario if the officer does not read you your Miranda Rights the evidence gathered against you is inadmissible.

There Are Many Exceptions to Miranda Rights

Even when an arrest requires the reading of Miranda Rights failing to do so may not mean the evidence gathered against you is automatically excluded. There are so many exceptions to Miranda they are almost worthless today.

Miranda Rights: Almost Worthless, But Not Quite

Even though Miranda Rights have been watered down, and no longer offer as much protection as they used to, it is still a valid argument in many criminal defense proceedings. Miranda may still be used to exclude evidence against the accused. While it may no longer be as powerful as it once was it’s still a useful tool.

The next time you’re watching Law & Order, and you hear those familiars words, remember that Hollywood often uses Miranda Rights to add to the drama of their program. In real life, Miranda Rights are not given after every arrest.

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