Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florida: Can a Case be dismissed if Miranda Rights aren't read?

What Constitutes Miranda Rights in Florida? Can a Case be dismissed if Miranda Rights aren't read? 

U.S. citizens have certain Constitutional rights that protect them when interacting with the police and the criminal justice system. These rights are known as Miranda rights, which were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona. 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Many people probably know about them from popular TV shows or action movies, but may not know exactly what these rights mean. 

Anyone who has been taken into custody and interrogated by the police must first be read their Miranda rights. The reading of your Miranda rights is known as a ‘Miranda warning' because the police are “warning” you of your constitutional rights:

  • Right to remain silent, because anything you say can be used against in court
  • Right to a lawyer, even if you cannot afford the services of a private attorney

These rights, born out of the 5th and 6th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, are in place to ensure equal protection under the law. Violation of Miranda rights may be reason enough to suppress any incriminating evidence against you so long as that evidence was obtained from the violation. Motions to suppress or motions to exclude evidence flowing from a Miranda Rights violation can be a critical part of your defense. In fact, getting charges dismissed can result from the finding that Miranda rights were violated in Florida.

What Crimes in Florida Require Miranda Warnings?

Miranda warnings are applicable whenever a person is in police custody for any alleged criminal activity or offense. These include but are not limited to:

  • Sex crimes
  • Drug crimes
  • Violent crimes
  • Theft crimes
  • White-collar crimes
  • Domestic violence
  • Organized crime
  • Property crimes
  • Hate crimes

Exceptions to When Police Must Give the Miranda Warnings

A few situations exist where the police are not required to read a person the Miranda warnings. These situations include when the officers are: 

  • questioning someone for public safety purposes
  • asking standard booking questions, like your name and address
  • using an informant to talk to a person while incarcerated
  • stopping a vehicle for a traffic violation.

Exceptions to When Violations Will Not Result in Exclusion of Evidence

As mentioned, when there's a Miranda warning violation, any evidence obtained from the violation can typically be excluded as evidence. There are, however, a few important exceptions.

  1. Public safety. When the police ask questions for the purpose of public safety and discover any evidence of alleged criminal activity, it can be admitted as evidence against the alleged offender. 
  2. Witnesses. When the police question a suspect, albeit unlawfully, and identify a potential witness, that witness may be allowed to testify at trial.
  3. Tangible evidence. When the police question a suspect, albeit unlawfully, and discover tangible evidence, that evidence can often be admitted to court. 
  4. Inevitable discovery. When the police question a suspect, albeit unlawfully, and tangible evidence is discovered, that evidence may still be admissible if it would have been discovered without questioning the suspect.

Determining if Miranda Rights Were Violated in Florida

You always have the right against compelled self-incrimination and the right to a criminal lawyer. Miranda rights require that people be informed of these rights if:

  • Taken into police custody
  • Subjected to interrogation

If you were taken into custody and interrogated about criminal activity without being “Mirandized” (read your Miranda rights), any evidence provided during that interrogation may be excluded from court. Knowing what these terms mean can help you understand whether your Miranda rights were violated.

  • Custody means a reasonable person would think they were in custody if they were in the same situation. If you are held against your will, you likely have been taken into custody. For example, being put into the back of a police car typically means you are in the custody of the police. 
  • Subjected to interrogation means the police ask questions specifically intended to elicit incriminating statements. For example, asking why you did it or where you hid a stolen item are questions that are subjecting you to an interrogation.

One word of caution: your words can still haunt you even if you were able to prove your Miranda rights were violated and, as a result, were able to suppress the evidence flowing from that violation. At trial, incriminating statements can be used to impeach you. This means your statements can be used to show you lied or are not fully telling the truth while on the stand. 

Can I Talk to the Police?

It is usually not advisable to talk to the police without the presence of an attorney. Some people, however, still want to talk. Miranda rights can be waived. Just remember: if a police officer delivers a Miranda warning, but you continue to talk, that information can be used against you as evidence in court. 

Why Wasn't I Read My Miranda Rights? Can a Case be dismissed if Miranda Rights aren't read? 

You may not have been read Miranda rights if you were not being taken into custody to be interrogated or put under arrest.  

The police can ask questions so long as they are not incriminating. Also, there are exceptions. For example, traffic stops are not custodial. The police can pull you over for a traffic stop, and if that leads to a suspicion of intoxicated driving, the police can ask questions without reading your Miranda rights. 

Your Miranda rights (and a violation of these rights) depend on the exact circumstances of your encounter with the police. This is exactly why it is important to seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney in Florida.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Florida

When your Miranda rights are violated, your attorney can use that to file motions to suppress evidence or dismiss the case––it all depends on the facts and circumstances. This can be a critical component of your defense strategy.