You’ve probably heard Miranda rights read out loud on a TV show, but do you know what they mean? Here, Attorney Minks of the Law Office of Steven P. Minks in Poteau, OK, elaborates on these undeniable rights and what happens if an officer does not read them to a criminal suspect.
A Criminal Defense Attorney’s Explanation of Miranda Rights
Protection Under Miranda Rights
In the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that before questioning people in police custody, they must be told they have the right to remain silent, and anything they say can be used against them in a court of law. They also have the right to an attorney during questioning, and if they can’t afford a lawyer, the court can appoint one.
Violation of Miranda
If you are arrested and the police officer does not read you your Miranda rights, whatever you say can’t be used as evidence against you. These rights apply if you’re being detained and not free to leave, even if you’re not officially placed under arrest.
Exceptions to Miranda
As criminal defense attorneys know, Miranda rights have exceptions. It does not apply when police respond to possible emergencies or the public’s safety is at risk. Miranda doesn’t apply in routine traffic stops during identification questioning, or when police need standard booking information. If a suspect in custody talks to a jailhouse informant, there’s no Miranda protection.
The best thing to do in a police encounter is remain silent. There is a reason that the Miranda Warnings tell you that “ANYTHING” you say “CAN AND WILL” be used against you. Not just the bad stuff. Why would you say “anything?”
Additionally, many times the person answering questions from the police do not realize that they have admitted to elements of a crime (what the State must prove to convict them). Each admission moves the police one step closer to an arrest, and the State one step closer to a conviction. Example: Counterfit money is found in a cash register at a restaurant. The waitress says she took money from a woman and a man but isn’t sure which one passed her the counterfit money. The police question the man about the counterfit money and man tells the police that those bills were his, but he didn’t know the money was counterfit. He says he got them as change when he went grocery shopping down the street from the restaurant. Man has just admitted to being in the area of the crime and possession of the counterfit money. The waitress told the officer that Man or a waoman gave her the money at the restaurant. The police can now exclude the woman as a suspect and they now have probable cause to arrest Man for the crime of uttering a forged instrument. The State now has a complaining witness and a Defendant who has admitted to an element of the crime that would be nearly impossible to prove at trial. The State’s chances of conviction look much better, now. If Man had remained silent, the State would have no case.
Another concern is that violations of a defendant’s Miranda rights do not necessarily bring the State’s case to an end. First, the defense attorney has to raise the issue. Then, if defense counsel is successful, the statements are suppressed from evidence. However, in reality, many Oklahoma state court judges will not suppress evidence. If suppressing a statement is not likely granted by the Court, Defendant can only wait until he is convicted and then appeal. He typically remains incarcerated while his appeal is pending.
It is much easier not to make the statement in the first place. “If you don’t talk, you walk,” may not be completely true. But asserting your core constitutional rights always provides you with protection that a good criminal defense attorney can use to help you.
At the Law Office of Steven P. Minks, you can expect aggressive and effective representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Known as the Poteau Pitbull, Attorney Minks fights with an ingrained passion for his clients. He delivers positive results in arguing motions to suppress evidence under Miranda, negotiating plea agreements, and trying cases before juries.
If you’re facing a DUI or other criminal charges in the area, contact the Law Office of Steven P. Minks in Poteau, OK. Call (918) 974-0001 to schedule your free consultation with this dynamic criminal defense attorney. Learn more about his legal services on the website, and keep up with him on Facebook.