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The Cops Did Not Read Me My Rights. Will My Case Be Dismissed?

Miranda warnings, which advise people who are arrested of their right to remain silent, their right to an attorney, and the warning that anything they say can and will be used against them in a court of law come up in many police and legal shows and movies, but they are actually a real thing in the real world.

It's NOT true, however, that if a police officer on the street forgets to tell you your rights, you are off the hook for whatever charges you are facing. The purpose of Miranda warnings is to protect people against giving confessions or incriminating themselves without knowing their rights. So if you were in custody and were interrogated or questioned by the police and not advised of your rights, then your statements could be excluded from being used against you as evidence at trial. And if those statements led the police to find more incriminating evidence against you, that evidence could also be excluded.

It is important to remember that this law only applies to statements made "in custody." That does NOT mean simply being asked questions after being pulled over for a traffic violation or questioned by the police on the street. It requires a formal arrest or similar circumstances, or questioning at a police station when you are not free to leave.

Regardless of the situation, you always have a 5th amendment right against self incrimination. The police cannot force you to answer questions, whether you are in custody or not. If you are being questioned by police as a suspect, it is almost always best to respectfully decline to answer questions, invoke your right to an attorney, and only answer questions after consulting an attorney and determining that it is in your best interest to do so. Trying to "talk your way out of a jam" with police usually only causes you more harm than good.

Feel free to contact attorney Kyle Jarzmik if you have any questions.