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Know Your Rights: Understanding Miranda Rights

Learn why Miranda Rights are important and how they protect you.

"Silence is golden, but knowing your Miranda Rights is priceless."

Imagine the United States of America, where the police hold all the power, and citizens have no power. That world, for some, may not be so unimaginable. If you have found yourself on the other side of police officers in Passaic County, you know you can appreciate that there are laws in this country meant to protect you. We also know, however, that those laws are often violated. Some of these laws meant to protect U.S. citizens are known as Miranda Rights, and they are also violated at an unfortunate rate by police officers.

Protect Your Rights Today

Whether a violation of your Miranda Rights is intentional, you can use the violation in your defense. Our criminal defense lawyer in New Jersey will identify whether your Miranda Rights were violated and then use that information to build a solid defense. We take your constitutional rights seriously at the Law Offices of David L. Pine, Esq. Contact us at 201-254-9925 to schedule a Free Initial Consultation and learn more about building a strong defense for your criminal case.

What Constitutes Miranda Rights in New Jersey?

U.S. citizens have certain constitutional rights that protect them when interacting with the police and criminal justice system, which is true wherever you are in the United States. Miranda Rights are legal rights for individuals being taken into police custody. These rights are known as Miranda rights, which were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona. 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Many people probably know about them from popular TV shows or action movies but may not know exactly what these rights mean. 

What are Miranda Rights?

Anyone who has been taken into custody and 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 you in court
  • Right to a lawyer, even if you cannot afford the services of a private attorney

These rights, born out of the 5th and 6th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, are in place to ensure equal protection under the law. Violating Miranda Rights may be reason enough to suppress any incriminating evidence against you so long as that evidence was obtained from the violation. Motions to suppress or motions to exclude evidence from a Miranda Rights violation can be a critical part of your defense. In fact, getting charges dismissed can result from the finding that Miranda Rights were violated in New Jersey.

Why are Miranda Rights important?

Miranda Rights are important because they protect individuals from self-incrimination and ensure that they have the right to legal counsel. Without these rights, individuals may unknowingly incriminate themselves or give up their right to an attorney. Miranda Rights also remind law enforcement that they must follow certain procedures when taking someone into custody.

What Crimes in New Jersey Require Miranda Warnings?

Miranda Warnings are applicable whenever a person is in police custody for any alleged criminal activity or offense. These include crimes like:

  • Sex crimes
  • Drug crimes
  • Violent crimes
  • Theft crimes
  • White-collar crimes
  • Domestic violence
  • Organized crime
  • Property crimes
  • Hate crimes

When are Miranda Rights read?

Miranda Warnings are read to individuals who are being taken into police custody and are about to be questioned. This means that if you are being arrested but are not going to be questioned, your Miranda Rights may not be read to you. It is important to note that Miranda Rights only apply when an individual is in police custody and being questioned.

Are there Exceptions When Miranda Warnings Are Not Required?

There are exceptions to Miranda Warnings, and these exceptions apply to when police must give Miranda warnings and when evidence can be excluded for Miranda warning violations. 

Exceptions to When Police Must Give the Miranda Warnings

A few situations exist where the police are not required to read a person the Miranda Warnings. These situations include when the officers are: 

  • questioning someone for public safety purposes
  • asking standard booking questions, like your name and address
  • using an informant to talk to a person while incarcerated
  • stopping a vehicle for a traffic violation.

Exceptions to When Violations Will Not Result in Exclusion of Evidence

As mentioned, when there's a Miranda Warning violation, any evidence obtained from the violation can typically be excluded as evidence. There are, however, a few important exceptions.

  1. Public safety. When the police ask questions for public safety and discover evidence of alleged criminal activity, it can be admitted as evidence against the alleged offender.
  2. Witnesses. When the police question a suspect, albeit unlawfully, and identify a potential witness, that witness may be allowed to testify at trial.
  3. Tangible evidence. When the police question a suspect, albeit unlawfully, and discover tangible evidence, that evidence can often be admitted to court. 
  4. Inevitable discovery. When the police question a suspect, albeit unlawfully, and tangible evidence is discovered, that evidence may still be admissible if it would have been discovered without questioning the suspect.

Determining if Miranda Rights Were Violated in New Jersey

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.

If you were taken into custody and interrogated about criminal activity without being “Mirandized” (read your Miranda rights), any evidence provided during that interrogation may be excluded from court. Knowing these terms can help you understand whether your Miranda Rights were violated.

  • Custody means a reasonable person would think they were in custody if they were in the same situation. You likely have been taken into custody if you are held against your will. For example, being put into the back of a police car typically means you are in the custody of the police. 
  • 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 subjecting you to an interrogation.

One word of caution: your words can still haunt you even if you were able to prove your Miranda Rights were violated and, as a result, were able to suppress the evidence flowing from that violation. At trial, incriminating statements can 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.

Should I Talk to the Police?

It is usually not advisable to talk to the police without an attorney. Some people, however, still want to talk. Miranda Rights can be waived. 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. For example, traffic stops are not custodial. The police can pull you over for a traffic stop, and if that leads to a suspicion of intoxicated driving, the police can ask questions without reading your Miranda Rights

Your Miranda Rights (and a violation of these rights) depend on the exact circumstances of your encounter with the police. This is exactly why it is important to seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney in New Jersey.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Passaic County 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. 

Know Your Rights: Contact David L. Pine today to learn more about Miranda Rights and how we can help protect your legal rights.

At David L. Pine, Esq., we know what to look for and will file motions to exclude evidence when it's applicable.

Contact us today at (973) 427-7444 or complete our online form to schedule a Free Initial Consultation. Get the defense you deserve if you have been charged with a criminal offense.

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