In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled that statements made to the police could not be used as evidence unless the accused was made aware of certain rights before making any statements.
The Constitution of the United States provides special protections to those who have been accused of committing a crime. These protected rights include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. These elements, in particular, are known as Miranda rights and must be recited to you by an officer before you can be questioned as a suspect.
Once these rights have been read to you, you are considered to have been "Mirandized."
Not being properly read your rights can have an impact on your case. Seeking the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney is the first step to ensuring that you receive a fair trial.
When are Miranda rights read?
In Tennessee, as well as the rest of the United States, you must be read your Miranda rights is you are taken into custody and if the police want to ask you any questions and then use those answers as evidence at trial.
If you are not taken into police custody, then the Miranda warning is not required and anything you say can be used as evidence. Often, police officers avoid the arrest process and make it clear that the person being questioned is free to go so that they do not have to issue the Miranda warning. Once they get an incriminating statement from the person being questioned, the officers will then make the arrest.
Failure to read Miranda rights
If an arresting officer does not read you your rights, then any statements you make while in custody cannot be used as evidence at trial.
This does not mean that your case will be thrown out. It is very possible that the prosecution has enough evidence to proceed with a trial without having to use statements obtained from the police without the Miranda recitation.
If officers forced you to incriminate yourself in order to obtain a confession, then the statements made can be considered coerced or involuntary and are not admissible in court, regardless of whether they are true or not.
Even if you have had your Miranda rights read and you are questioned too harshly or unfairly, the statements will still be considered inadmissible in court.
Circumstances that lead to involuntary confessions include threats, deprivation of food or water, promises of leniency, physical abuse, and interrogating a suspect at gunpoint.
If you have been charged with a crime, it is important to understand your rights and options. Contact a local Tennessee criminal defense attorney today to discuss your case.