The police didn’t read my Miranda rights to me – can I get my case dismissed?
This may be the most common question that we get from our clients who are charged with a crime – the answer, of course, is “it depends.” If you are charged with DUI or DUAC in SC and the police did not read your Miranda rights to you on the dashcam video, your case should get dismissed.
In all other criminal cases in SC, your case will not get dismissed for a Miranda violation, but any statements you made may be excluded as evidence at your trial.
What are the Miranda rights? Shouldn’t the police read my rights to me when I’m arrested? When I’m being questioned?
We answer these and more questions below to help you better understand what is required of police officers during an arrest and whether or not you have been treated fairly under the law.
1. Do Police Have to Read Miranda Rights to Me Before I can be Arrested?
We’ve all seen the cop shows on TV and the movies where the police officer reads the suspect their rights as they put the handcuffs on. Because of this, many people assume that police must read Miranda rights every time they make an arrest – not true.
If police did not read your rights to you when they arrested you, in most cases, that does not mean your case will get dismissed. Except in a SC DUI arrest, there is no requirement for police to read Miranda rights to a suspect upon arrest.
2. Do Police Have to Read Miranda Rights to Me if I’m Arrested for DUI in SC?
Yes, they do. One of the mandatory requirements of SC’s DUI law is that police read the Miranda rights to a DUI suspect on the roadside video. If they do not, your case should be dismissed pursuant to a case called City of Rock Hill v. Suchenski.
3. What are Miranda Rights?
Your Miranda rights are the rights that a police officer must tell you about before any questions are asked they may incriminate you.
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you do or say can be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to have a lawyer present during questioning.
- A lawyer will be appointed for you if you want one but can’t afford one.
4. When do Police Have to Read Miranda Rights to a Suspect in SC?
Police are required to read your Miranda rights if you’re under custodial interrogation. If you are in custody, any statements that you make in response to questioning can be excluded from your trial if you were not mirandized.
On the other hand, if police are asking you questions and you’re free to go at any time, they do not need to read you these rights.
5. What is Custodial Interrogation?
It doesn’t matter if you’re being detained at the police station, at a baseball field or in your front yard. If you’re not free to go, a police officer must mirandize you before questioning you.
If you are in jail, or if you are in handcuffs and surrounded by police officers, you are in custody. There are many situations that are a “grey area;” however, like when you have been called in for questioning at the station but have not been handcuffed or detained – when you come into contact with police, it is always a good idea to ask, “Am I free to go?”
6. Why do We Have Miranda rights?
The Miranda rights are meant to protect you from being abused or mistreated by a police officer. By requiring police officers to state these rights, the court is trying to make sure that you know what you do and do not have to do during “custodial interrogation.” The reading of these rights is to remind you of your 5th amendment right, which is that you don’t have to answer any questions that could incriminate you.
In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed widespread police abuse and coercive interviewing tactics in Miranda v. Arizona. The Court was concerned not only with physical abuse by investigators that resulted in coerced confessions, but also with the increasingly sophisticated psychological tactics like those taught in the Reid technique (still in use today) that can also result in false confessions.
7. How do You Waive Your Miranda Rights?
A better question may be, “Why would you waive your Miranda rights?” If you answer questions after you have been read your Miranda rights, you’re waiving your right to remain silent and you are waiving your right to an attorney. Although it is not required, investigators will usually have you sign a waiver form and initial next to each right that you are waiving so there is no question in court.
8. Should I Waive My Miranda Rights?
No. Talk to your criminal defense lawyer before you subject yourself to questioning by police or investigators. The reason that the U.S. Supreme Court requires them to inform you of your right to an attorney is because, without an attorney present, you are subjecting yourself to a trained interrogator and potentially abusive or coercive interviewing techniques.
Be smart and call your attorney before making any statements.
SC Criminal Defense Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, and Charleston
If your Miranda rights were violated at the time of your arrest, it’s critical that you consult an attorney who can help you to get any statements that you made suppressed, retain the right expert who can explain false confessions to jurors if the statements are not suppressed, and fight to get your charges dismissed before trial whenever possible.
Talk to an experienced SC criminal defense lawyer today. Contact Coastal Law by calling (843) 488-5000 or filling out our online form to set up a free consultation about your case.