The police did not read me my rights . . . I thought that was required?

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I hear this statement from almost every criminal client who walks into my office.  There is a commonly held misconception that Police are required to read you’re your Miranda Rights.  We have all heard Miranda rights on television or elsewhere.  “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you . . ..”

The vast majority of people think that the police’s failure to read you your Miranda rights results in the entire case being thrown out.  Unfortunately, the only remedy for a police officer not reading you your rights is that anything you say cannot be used against you in a trial.   

In many cases, the police do not need statements from the perpetrator.  For example, in the case of a DUI charge, the police have non-testimonial evidence such as video from the police car of your swerving and your blood/breath evidence which shows your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).    

In other criminal cases, the police may have eye witnesses or other evidence of a person’s guilt without a need for any statements by the alleged perpetrator. 

My general advice to clients is that when a police officer starts asking you questions about a crime or event, whether s/he has read you your rights or not, you should politely state that you want to speak to a lawyer before answering any questions.       

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