On TV, you often hear officers read the accused rights: “You have the right to remain silent…” Frequently, defendants tell me the cop who arrested them did not read their rights. Does this matter? Maybe.
Miranda Rights developed from the 1968 case Miranda v. Arizona. Law enforcement officers never informed Ernesto Miranda of his right to counsel, his right to remain silent, or that his statements would be used against him. Ernesto made the statements admitting guilt after arrest, and they were subsequently used to convict him of rape and kidnapping.
Defendants often tell me the police did not read the defendant’s rights when arrested. This by itself is not enough for a dismissal, and generally isn’t even enough for a suppression motion unless the defendant said something incriminating after arrest.
Law enforcement is trained to read you your rights upon arrest, but sometimes in the heat of the moment they forget. Even if they do not, never say anything to the police about the alleged crime without your attorney present. You should give basic biographical information, such as your name and date of birth, but do not say anything about the alleged incident. An officer may tell you that the district attorney will dismiss the charge if you cooperate then and there, but the officer does not get to make that call. It’s simply a tactic to get you to talk. However, always be polite and cooperative.
Additionally, do not say anything to the judge about the alleged crime during your first appearance. The judge does not care. The assistant district attorney will be in the room and can use what you say to the judge against you. This could even result in more criminal charges.
If the cops do not read you your rights, make sure to tell your attorney. If anything said after arrest is used against you, the attorney will make a motion to suppress the statements under the Fifth Amendment. If your case proceeds before a plea deal is met, a North Carolina superior court judge will hear the motion and decide whether or not the statements can be kept out of trial or not. This could result in a dismissal in some cases, or a better plea offer.
Do not attempt to handle your criminal case alone. We offer a free consultation your Wake County criminal charge. Call William Pruden at 919-880-2124 for more information.