What If the Police Didn’t Read Me My Rights in Salt Lake City?

For many folks who have not had much or any real-life interaction with law enforcement and the criminal justice system, most of what they know comes from movies and television. One thing often featured during fictional portrayals of arrests is the officers reading the suspect their “Miranda rights” as they place them in cuffs. In real life, the Miranda rights are in fact required to be read to every arrestee, including the famous “right to remain silent.” However, just because the police did not read your rights to you when they made the arrest, this does not necessarily mean your entire case will be thrown out. Below, our experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys at Overson & Bugden explain when and how the police are required to read your Miranda rights and what consequences it can have for the case against you.

When Must the Police in Salt Lake City Read Me My Miranda Rights?

In the landmark US Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, the court ruled that all criminal suspects who are arrested must be informed of their criminal rights by the police upon arrest. These rights include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to have an attorney provided for you if you cannot afford to pay for one on your own. Subsequent court cases over the years have ruled that these rights extend to anyone undergoing a “custodial interrogation.” This is any situation where the police begin asking you questions or trying to elicit information from you, and where a reasonable person would not feel free to leave. Aside from post-arrest, this means that officers must read you your rights if, for example, they force you into the back of a police car in such a way that you feel you cannot get out and begin to ask you questions about a crime.

What Happens if the Police Fail to Read Me My Rights in Salt Lake City?

If the police do not read your rights to you when you are in a custodial interrogation setting, anything that you say to them as a result of their questioning or eliciting of statements from you cannot be used against you in any future case. For example, say the police arrest you for assault and fail to read your Miranda rights to you. If they ask you if you committed the crime while transporting you to the station, and you answer with a full confession, this confession cannot be used against you, because you were not properly notified of your rights, including the right to remain silent even when the officers question you. The same would apply if the police officers did not technically ask you a question, but said something clearly intended to elicit a response from you. However, if you make a spontaneous revelation not promoted by any words of actions of the officers, this can be used as evidence against you even if your Miranda rights were not read, as it does not met the definition of an “interrogation.”

Once you have been arrested and you believe you have been interrogated without your Miranda rights being read to you, you should reach out to a skilled criminal defense lawyer like those at Overson & Bugden as soon as possible. If charges are ultimately filed, we can file a motion to exclude any evidence or testimony that was elicited from you without your rights first being read. If the judge agrees, any such evidence will not be permitted to be considered as part of the case against you. However, the case may still be able to proceed based on other evidence obtained before the custodial interrogation or at a later point after the Miranda warnings had been properly read.

How a Lawyer Can Help If My Salt Lake City Criminal Case Proceeds

If the prosecutor believes they have enough evidence to charge you even without the excluded statements, we will focus our attention on requesting any outstanding evidence, filing any other necessary motions, and beginning to negotiate with the prosecutor to get the charges against you downgraded or dismissed. While the matter may be able to proceed without your excluded statements, in many situations the prosecutor’s case will have been severely weakened, making them more amenable to a potential plea deal. In some cases where you are a first-time offender, our skilled lawyers may be able to convince the prosecutor to allow you into a pre-trial diversion program or to enter a plea in abeyance. In either case, if you successfully complete the court’s requirements and stay out of trouble for a certain period of time, the charges against you will be dropped and you will not have a criminal record.

If pre-trial diversion or a plea in abeyance are not on the table in your case, other possible deals include the prosecutor agreeing to downgrade the charge to something less serious or to make a lenient sentencing recommendation to the judge in exchange for you pleading guilty. Of course, if you do not wish to take a deal, our battle-tested trial attorneys at Overson & Bugden are always ready to fight for a not guilty verdict in the courtroom. We will leave no stone unturned introducing evidence and witnesses to show that your guilt cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and we will strenuously object to any illegal attempts by the prosecutor to reference any statements excluded as a result of the failure to give your Miranda warnings.

If You Have Been Arrested But Not Read Your Rights, Reach Out to Our Experienced Attorneys Today

While the failure of the police to read your rights before you undergo a custodial interrogation does not necessarily mean your case will be dismissed, it does mean anything you said to them in such an interrogation setting cannot be used as evidence to prove the case against you. By reaching out to a skilled Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney like those at Overson & Bugden as soon after your arrest as possible, you give us the time to get to work quickly on filing a motion to exclude any statements obtained from you before you were Mirandized. Then, if the matter proceeds, we will turn our attentions to getting the charges downgraded or dismissed. Call us today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.