Learn when the police are required to read your rights (and what it means if they didn’t) from a knowledgeable Bergen County criminal defense attorney. Are you facing criminal charges in New Jersey? Call (201) 489-9199 for a free consultation.
When are the Police Required to Read Your Rights in New Jersey?
The requirement for the police to read a suspect's rights is one of the most well-known aspects of criminal law. It is also one of the least understood. In some cases, "failure" to read a suspect's rights is not a failure at all, but rather a proper exercise of investigative authority. In others, failure to read a suspect's rights may be improper, but it may still have no practical consequences for the suspect's trial. Then, there are the cases where failure to read a suspect's rights is a significant issue that can prevent the prosecution from proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So, the police stopped you but they didn't read your rights - what do you need to know?
When are the Police Required to Read the Miranda Warning?
Even though Miranda v. Arizona has been the law of the land for more than 50 years, there are still circumstances in which it can be unclear whether the police improperly questioned a suspect without reading the Miranda warning ("You have the right to remain silent," and so on).
As a general rule, the police must read the Miranda warning before questioning a suspect in custody. Even if the police didn't read your rights at the time of your arrest, if you received the Miranda warning before being interrogated, then this may be enough to satisfy the protections afforded under Miranda v. Arizona. On the other hand, if you believed that you were not free to leave (even though you had not yet been formally arrested) and you answered the arresting officer's questions, this could potentially be a situation where your rights were violated. These cases are rarely straightforward and determining whether you can assert failure to read your rights as a defense to criminal charges requires a thorough assessment of the factual and legal issues at play.
What are the Consequences if the Police Failed to Read Your Rights?
Let*s say that the police violated your constitutional rights by failing to read the Miranda warning. What does this mean for your criminal case in New Jersey?
If the police interrogated you without reading your rights and you made self-incriminating statements or gave the police information that led to other evidence, then your statements, and any evidence subsequently obtained, should be deemed inadmissible in your criminal case. As a result, while a Miranda violation does not automatically mean that your charges will be dropped, if the government obtained its evidence against you illegally, the government may be left without enough evidence to prove your guilt. In order to have this evidence kept out of your trial, your defense attorney will need to file a motion in court, and, to ensure that you have every chance possible to avoid unjust consequences, it is important that you discuss your rights with an attorney as soon as possible.
Did the Police Fail to Read Your Rights?
If you are facing criminal charges in New Jersey and the police failed to read your rights during your arrest, this is absolutely an issue you should discuss with an attorney. Even if it does not provide a defense, it may shed light on other available defenses. To speak with a Bergen County criminal defense attorney for free, call (201) 489-9199 or request a confidential consultation online today.
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