William Young and Associates Blog

“I Wasn’t Read My Rights!”: Understanding Miranda Rights

Posted by Christi Schofield | Nov 03, 2022 | 0 Comments

If you've ever found yourself on the other side of the law, you can appreciate that there are laws in this country meant to protect you. Some of these laws are known as Miranda rights, and they are routinely violated by officers.

Whether a violation of your Miranda rights is intentional, you can use the violation in your defense. Our firm will identify whether your Miranda rights were violated, and then use that information to build a solid defense. At Schofield Young PLLC, we take your constitutional rights seriously. Contact us at 208-344-0128 to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how to build a strong defense for your criminal case.

What Constitutes Miranda Rights in Idaho?

Miranda rights were created in 1966 because of the United States Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona. In that case, our country's supreme court found that individuals have certain constitutional rights that protect them when interacted by law enforcement. Many people probably know about them from popular TV shows but may not know exactly what these rights mean. 

Anyone who has been (1) taken into custody AND (2) interrogated by the police must first be read their Miranda rights. The reading of your Miranda rights is known as a Miranda warning because the police are “warning” you of your constitutional:

  • Right to remain silent because anything you say can be used against in court; and
  • Right to a lawyer.

These rights are in place to ensure equal protection under the law. A violation of your Miranda rights may be grounds to suppress (i.e., throw out) any incriminating evidence that was obtained from the violation. Motions to suppress evidence flowing from a Miranda Rights violation can be a critical part of your defense and can occasionally result in a dismissal of your case altogether.

Determining if Your Miranda Rights Were Violated in Idaho

You always have the right against compelled self-incrimination and the right to a criminal lawyer. Miranda requires that people be informed of these rights should they ever be:

  • Taken into police custody, and
  • Subjected to interrogation.

Whether you were taken into custody or interrogated depends on the circumstances and requires careful examination of the discovery/evidence in your case.

  • Custody means a reasonable person would think they were in custody if they were in the same situation. If you are held against your will, you likely have been taken into custody. For example, being put into the back of a police car typically means you are in the custody of the police. However, you can be in custody without being in a police car or at the police station.
  • Subjected to interrogation means the police ask questions specifically intended to elicit incriminating statements. For example, asking why you did it or where you hid a stolen item are questions that are subject you to interrogation.

A word of caution: your words can still haunt you even if you are able to prove your Miranda rights were violated and, as a result, suppressed the evidence flowing from that violation. At trial, incriminating statements can sometimes be used to impeach you. This means your statements can be used to show you lied or are not fully telling the truth while on the stand.

Can I Talk to the Police?

The issue isn't whether you can, it's whether you should. It is usually not advisable to talk to the police without the presence of an attorney. Some people, however, still want to talk. Miranda rights can be waived. Just remember, if a police officer delivers a Miranda warning, but you continue to talk, that information can be used against you as evidence in court. 

Why Wasn't I Read My Miranda Rights?

You may not have been read Miranda rights if you were not being taken into custody to be interrogated or put under arrest. The police can ask questions so long as they are not incriminating. Also, there are exceptions. Some situations where Miranda rights are not required include questioning someone for public safety purposes, asking standard booking questions (such as, your name and address), and during noncustodial traffic stops.

Contact Our Office Today

When your Miranda rights are violated, your attorney can use that to file motions to suppress evidence or dismiss the case––it all depends on the facts and circumstances. This can be a critical component of your defense strategy. 

At Schofield Young PLLC, we know what to look for and will file motions to exclude evidence when it's applicable. Contact us today at 208-344-0128 or fill out our online form here to schedule a free consultation. Get the defense you deserve if you have been charged with a criminal offense.

About the Author

Christi Schofield

Christi represents clients in a wide range of criminal law matters in the Treasure Valley and surrounding areas

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