For the average person, Miranda Warnings are probably the most well-known and least understood area of criminal procedure. So often potential clients who have been charged with criminal activity come to this office, sit down, and tell me that this will be an easy case. When I ask “why,” the most common answer from the potential client is that “the officer did not read me my rights.”
While this line of reasoning works well on the average legal television show, an officer’s failure to read an arrestee his rights is rarely – if ever – grounds for dismissing a case. To put it another way, just because an officer doesn’t read you your rights, it doesn’t mean you have not been arrested; or that your arrest is not valid.
The commonly accepted legal precedent that the Supreme Court set forth in the 1966 landmark case Miranda v. Arizona is this: when a suspect is in police custody, he or she must be informed of his or her constitutional rights before being interrogated. 384 U.S. 436. Under this precedent, the only time is officer is legally required to read a suspect his rights is when the suspect is in custody AND officers intend to interrogate that suspect. And even if an officer violates the principles of Miranda, the legal remedy in New York is suppression of the STATEMENT and not the arrest.
In short, this is a brief overview of being read your rights. Going forward, we will discuss the benefits of listening and taking advantage of those rights.