Two Times When Miranda Violations Are Ignored

Posted on: 1 October 2020


Fictional media has often portrayed that police and prosecutors can't use anything a defendant may say against the defendant if the police don't read them their Miranda rights before interrogating them. However, Miranda law is full of exceptions to the rule, and here are two times when your statement can be used in court even if police neglect Miranda laws.

When Tangible Evidence is Involved

Generally, statements you make after a Miranda violation aren't admissible in court. If you confess to a crime but the police didn't tell you your rights beforehand, the prosecutor can't use the confession as evidence in your trial, for example.

However, if police discover physical evidence of a crime because of something you told them, that evidence can be used in court, even if it was the result of a Miranda violation.

For instance, if the police interrogate you without saying the Miranda warning and you tell them you dumped a knife in a garbage bin behind a restaurant. If the cops find the knife there, it can be admitted as evidence in the case, even though your statement about disposing of it can't.

Likewise, physical evidence the police would've found on their own without your statements can also be admitted even if they located it because of your admission. You tell them you dropped a ball-point pen in some bushes near the crime scene, for example. It is likely police would've checked the area and picked up the pen eventually, so it can be used in court as evidence in your trial.

When You're Not Really Under Arrest

Police are only required to recite a person's Miranda rights if and when they are placed under arrest. To get around this, officers will sometimes interrogate individuals without taking them into custody. They can mention that the suspect is free to go at any time and only arrest the individual after the person says something incriminating.

This is perfectly legal, and anything you say to police under these conditions can be used in a case against you or others. However, it should be noted that if you're not under arrest or being detained, you are under no obligation to speak to police or remain in their presence. You can walk away without saying a word and there's nothing they can legally do.

Whether you're in police custody or not, it's generally a good idea to remain quiet until you have an opportunity to speak to your attorney. They can help you navigate this complex situation.

For help with a criminal case or more information about criminal law, contact a local defense attorney.