If you’ve watched any police television shows or movies, you have probably heard the actors give the accused their Miranda warnings. However, it is important to understand what your Miranda rights really are if you are being investigated by the police or are facing criminal charges.
What Are Your Miranda Rights?
You have constitutional rights against self-incrimination and to a lawyer in criminal cases under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The police have a duty to advise you of these rights in misdemeanor and felony cases.
Many people have the mistaken belief that law enforcement officials only have to give suspects their Miranda warnings when they are arrested. However, this is not true. The police must advise you of your rights in these situations:
- You are in a custodial setting where you do not feel free to leave.
- The police want to question you.
Law enforcement officials are required to make four statements when giving Miranda warnings:
- Right to remain silent. The police must inform you of your right to remain silent.
- Statements may be used against you. You must be told that any statements you make can be used against you in court.
- Right to a lawyer. You must also be advised that you have the right to have an attorney present when the police interrogate you.
- Right to an appointed attorney. Finally, the police must inform you that if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you free of charge.
Will My Criminal Case Be Dismissed If the Police Fail to Give Me My Miranda Warnings?
No, your criminal case would not be automatically dismissed. However, if you make incriminating statements, they cannot be used against you in your criminal case. This could result in a dismissal if the only evidence against you is your incriminating statements or confession that you made before being informed of your constitutional rights.
If you have been arrested in Virginia, our experienced criminal defense lawyers can raise the violation of your constitutional rights and your other defenses to fight the charges you face so that you achieve the best possible outcome given your circumstances. These defenses could result in the charges against you being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense—even if you’re guilty. To learn more about how we can help you, fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.