In a case called Miranda vs. Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court held that police must recite specific warnings to a suspect of a crime who is being questioned while in police custody. Most of us know these warnings as “Miranda warnings.” The required warnings are that a suspect has the right to remain silent and that anything the suspect says can be used against him or her in court.
Discuss Your Case With a Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
Police officers in Virginia must provide you with Miranda warnings at the right time. If you’ve been charged with a crime and the police in your case failed to read you your Miranda warnings or didn’t read them at the right time, this could become part of your legal defense. Your case may not be dismissed just because of a failure to read your Miranda rights, but you can use the failure to your advantage. Contact Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC today to schedule a case evaluation and learn more about how we can fight for your rights.
What Are “Miranda Warnings”?
After the Supreme Court’s ruling in Miranda vs. Arizona in 1966, law enforcement officers must provide suspects with Miranda warnings. Miranda warnings arise from the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Specifically, the Supreme Court held that before police officers can interrogate you while in police custody, they must inform you of the following four things:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law
- You have the right to consult with an attorney and have an attorney present during any police interrogation
- An attorney will be appointed for you if you cannot afford one
The police officers aren’t required to provide you with these rights in any particular order. Similarly, they aren’t required to use specific words or phrases when giving suspects their Miranda warnings. However, they must clearly convey the meaning of all four aspects of the Miranda warning.
When Are Virginia Police Officers Required to Give Miranda Warnings?
Police must give Miranda warnings to anyone subjected to custodial interrogation. The police must provide Miranda rights if the suspect is detained or not free to leave police custody. Police officers don’t need to give Miranda warnings before asking questions when:
- The questions are investigatory
- The suspect is free to leave at any time
- The person hasn’t been charged with a crime
What If The Police Didn’t Read Me My Miranda Rights?
The government can use any of the following statements you say against you when prosecuting you for a crime in Virginia:
- Statements or information you volunteer to the police without the police questioning you
- Answers you provide to police questions before you were arrested when you were free to leave at any time
- Answers that you provided to police officers after you waived your Miranda rights
However, if the police officer fails to provide you with your Miranda rights or they violate your rights, your attorney can challenge the use of statements you made to the police. For example, if you aren’t read your Miranda rights after your arrest and before questioning or interrogation, any answers or confessions should not be used against you by the prosecution.
A Failure to Read Miranda Warnings Is a VIolation of the Suspect’s Rights
Using a suspect’s confession without a valid Miranda rights warning violates the suspect’s constitutional rights. The court may stop the government from using your statements against you when prosecuting you. If the court doesn’t allow the prosecution to use your statements while prosecuting you, they may dismiss your case because they won’t be able to prove it without using your statements.
Suppose the prosecution doesn’t have persuasive evidence against you other than your statements, and there isn’t other evidence to convict you. In that case, your criminal defense attorney may be able to make a compelling argument that could lead to a dismissal of the criminal charges against you.
Investigating Whether Police Should Have Read You Your Miranda Rights
The question of whether you were detained or free to leave may be contested after the fact. For example, the police officer involved may claim that you weren’t being detained, but you may be able to gather evidence showing that you were not free to leave and should have been read your Miranda rights.
A criminal defense attorney might investigate the circumstances of your questioning and raise legal defenses if the police didn’t provide you with your Miranda rights. Criminal defense attorneys and the court involved may consider the following factors when deciding whether you are in police custody:
- Your familiarity with your surroundings
- How the police summoned you
- The neutrality of your surroundings
- Whether you were physically restrained
- How many police officers were present
- How long the questioning took and the nature and character of the interrogation
- Whether the police officer believed you may have committed a crime and communicated that to you before the questioning began
The Benefits of Working with a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
Virginia police officers are required to provide you with your Miranda warnings, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the charges against you will be dismissed if they don’t. However, when you work with experienced criminal defense attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we can work to exclude statements you made in violation of your Miranda rights. Additionally, we may be able to prevent additional problems if you contact a Virginia criminal defense attorney before you’re given your Miranda rights before you speak to the police.
Reach Out to a Fairfax County, Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney for Help!
If you have questions about your Miranda rights or your possible criminal defense, the attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC are here to help. The Virginia criminal defense attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC will thoroughly investigate your case and provide you with an honest and accurate assessment of your legal defense options. Our criminal defense attorneys vigorously represent clients charged with a wide range of criminal charges in Virginia. Contact Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC today to schedule a case evaluation.