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They Didn’t Read Me My Rights. Will My Case Be Dismissed?

  • Birdsall Obear

Episodes of Law and Order may lead you to believe that law enforcement officers will always tell you that you have “the right to remain silent” during questioning, but this is not always the case. There are certain conditions in which law enforcement officers must read your full rights, but failing to read your Miranda Rights will not necessarily result in a case dismissal. 

When In Doubt, Stay Silent

While officers are technically required to read your rights to you when you are in police custody or before interrogation, law enforcement does not have to read you your Miranda Rights if you are pulled over or speak with police in informal settings. If a police officer stops you at the scene of a crime, knocks on your door, or communicates with you outside of custody, your Miranda Rights still apply.

Suppose officers fail to read your Miranda Rights while in police custody. In that case, your attorney may argue that statements made after the violation are invalid and subject to suppression. However, suppressed statements cannot factor in the jury’s decision. So, while a failure to read your rights may alter the course of your case, it is unlikely to lead to a complete dismissal.

Miranda Rights Entitle You To An Attorney

If you are fortunate enough to have your Miranda Rights read to you by law enforcement, officers may not always read the full rights. The complete text is as follows:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

Law enforcement officers know that consultation with an attorney may prevent you from accidentally incriminating yourself, regardless of guilt or innocence. Therefore, you need to be aware of your right to an attorney - even if law enforcement neglects to read the full text.

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