Many people know something about the Miranda rights from movies and TV: “You have the right to remain silent…” They are among the most important constitutional rights every American has. When law enforcement violates your Miranda rights, they’re ignoring the Constitution.
We take constitutional violations seriously at The Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling. If you’re facing criminal charges and believe law enforcement violated your Miranda rights, an experienced Miranda rights attorney in Los Angeles can help you. Our firm has extensive experience enforcing the rights of Southern Californians just like you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Understanding Miranda Rights
Four main elements of the Miranda rights (also known as the Miranda warning) protect an individual throughout the judicial process. A police officer must read your Miranda rights after your arrest but before your interrogation.
Your Miranda rights include:
- Right to remain silent – You do not have to answer any questions law enforcement asks. It could be a Miranda violation if officers coerce you into speaking.
- Right to an attorney – You have the right to legal counsel. If you can’t afford a criminal defense lawyer, the court will appoint one to your case.
Additionally, law enforcement must inform you that anything you say can be used against you in court. They are collecting evidence for the prosecution’s case against you and must tell you of their intent to use your answers as evidence.
Your Miranda rights mean you can:
- Stop the interrogation anytime, even if you’ve already answered some questions.
- Request an attorney anytime, despite already talking to law enforcement alone.
All police officers must read a person’s Miranda rights before they can ask a single question as part of a custodial investigation. The answers to any questions asked before your Miranda rights are read to you are inadmissible in court.
Additionally, law enforcement cannot use an invocation of your Miranda rights as proof of your guilt.
Common Miranda Rights Misconceptions
Understanding your Miranda rights is crucial, but many misunderstandings exist about when and how they apply during the criminal process. Common misconceptions include:
- Your Miranda rights must be read before an arrest – Police don’t need to read your Miranda rights until after they arrest you and take you into custody for interrogation. They don’t even have to Mirandize you right after your arrest if they don’t intend to ask questions immediately. Your Miranda rights help protect you from self-incrimination and preserve your right to have a criminal defense lawyer present to advise you during questioning.
- All questions require a Miranda warning – Your Miranda rights protect you against incriminating yourself after questions that could be used as testimony, not against any question law enforcement might need to ask you. For example, asking you routine questions, like your name or address, doesn’t require law enforcement to read you your Miranda rights.
- A Miranda violation results in dropped charges – This is the biggest myth about Miranda rights. It is untrue that any Miranda rights violation automatically means the prosecution will drop your charges. There are still ways to continue a case, even if there was a Miranda violation during the initial investigation.
You can waive your Miranda rights and choose to speak with law enforcement without consulting a lawyer. However, criminal defense attorneys advise against this practice, even if you know you’re innocent. You should also invoke your right to remain silent. Waiving your Miranda rights means giving up crucial constitutional protections you may need later if the investigation gets complicated.
The Role of Miranda Rights in Criminal Defense
Miranda rights are crucial to the criminal justice process. They protect the accused from unconstitutional law enforcement tactics and preserve your presumed innocence as much as possible.
Law enforcement must read your Miranda rights when you’re about to be interrogated. If officers fail to Mirandize you, your attorney could argue your answers or any physical evidence collected due to your responses are inadmissible in court.
While a Miranda violation might not lead to dropped charges, it can weaken the prosecution’s case. Suppressing evidence may not leave the State with much to use against you. Law enforcement failures can cause the jury to lose confidence in the integrity of the prosecution’s case, resulting in an acquittal at trial.
However, the State can still pursue a conviction even after the court suppresses specific evidence. That’s why you should seek guidance from an experienced Miranda rights lawyer if you’re facing criminal charges.
The Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling’s Approach
At the Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling, we work tirelessly to ensure our client’s Miranda rights remain intact. Constitutional violations interrupt the fair administration of justice in Los Angeles, and our firm has worked for over 20 years to let justice prevail.
If you were not Mirandized before questioning, our firm can:
- File a motion to suppress – Being able to suppress evidence can lead to a weakened case against you, which improves our chances of successfully defending you against the charges.
- Investigate the arresting officers – We’ll look into the officers’ history for other Miranda violations or additional misconduct to bring up at trial.
- Conduct a detailed investigation of your charges – Since a failure to read the Miranda warning is no guarantee that your charges will be dropped, we’ll get our in-house investigators to work gathering evidence to build a vigorous defense for you.
Our personalized representation distinguishes us from other Los Angeles Miranda rights attorneys. Rest assured, your case is not just another file for us. We approach every client with the care and respect they deserve.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Miranda Rights Lawyer Today
If you’re facing a misdemeanor or felony charge in Los Angeles, you need skilled legal representation from someone who can determine whether your rights have been respected. Contact an experienced Los Angeles Miranda rights attorney at The Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling today for a free consultation.