What are "Miranda" Rights and When do They Matter?
Your Miranda Rights Rarely Apply!In most cases, absolutely NOTHING happens if you are arrested and not read your Miranda rights. Probably 80% of all people are not read the Miranda rights before or at the time of their arrest. Miranda only applies to custodial interrogations, and the vast majority of "on view" arrests do not involve custodial interrogations.
For example: You are stopped in a vehicle for speeding, or having a taillight out. The officer approaches the vehicle and smells marijuana, and upon a closer look, sees a baggie of dope on your lap. He doesn't need to interrogate you to figure out that he's going to arrest you on the spot for possession of pot. If no interrogation is necessary, no Miranda rights are necessary.
Or perhaps you have an outstanding warrant. The officer doesn't need to interrogate you to figure out that you are going to be arrested for the warrant.
What about Roadside Questioning - Like in a DWI / DUI situation?It can be a little different if the officer decides to arrest you for DUI / DWI. Typically in those cases, the officer will ask you questions at roadside to help him determine if you are going to be arrested. But in nearly every case, that will not be considered CUSTODIAL, because you are not yet in custody. And roadside questions are generally not considered INTERROGATION either, because no particular pressure is being applied, other than that normally felt by one being questioned by the police.
For Miranda rights to apply, the situation must be both CUSTODIAL (in custody) and INTERROGATION (under some increased pressure.)
At a minimum then, before Miranda rights would apply and your statements be ruled inadmissible you would have to be in custody. In many cases, but not all, you may be ruled to be in custody when 1) you are handcuffed, 2) you are in the squad car, or 3) you are in jail. But these cases are extremely case specific, so there are no definite rules.
So What Happens If Your Miranda Rights Are Violated? Is the Case Dismissed?Your Miranda rights are only violated when they have not been given to you, and the police have used custodial interrogation on you to obtain statements which incriminate you. But just because your Miranda rights are violated, that doesn't mean your case will be dismissed!
A Miranda rights violation will only prevent your own statements from being used against you in court. If they can't prove your guilt without those statements, then, and only then, will your case be dismissed. But Miranda rights never prevent the police from using other witnesses' statements against you. And Miranda doesn't prevent the police from using physical evidence they discover as a result of your statements. So if you tell them where the gun is, and they find the gun as a result of your statement, then the gun is admissible, even if your statement is not! And most of the time, if they find physical evidence as the result of your own statements, the rules change and your statements become admissible!
So What Do You Have To Know About Your Miranda Rights?Defining when Miranda applies, or what is or isn't custodial interrogation is a fairly difficult problem, but the solution couldn't be any easier!
If you are a suspect in a criminal case, NEVER talk to the police! Never, never, never, never. Did I mention NEVER?
Never talk to the police if you are GUILTY! Never talk to the police if you are INNOCENT! Never talk to the police if you DON'T EVEN KNOW if you are guilty or innocent. NEVER talk to the police when you are a suspect! Period!
I don't think that I could make that any clearer if I tried!