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The Officer Didn’t Read Miranda Warnings . . . Does the Case Go Away?

Many people believe the following statement: “they didn’t read me my Miranda warnings, so my case should go away.”   The short reply to this is; likely not. But depending on the circumstances, the evidence, and whether the officers did actually violate the Miranda principles and the 5th Amendment, there is a possibility that some evidence may be suppressed (not allowed to be used).

When must officers read an accused the Miranda warnings?

Miranda warnings are not required every time a police has contact with an individual and asks them questions. In fact, there are two specific things that must occur at the same time in order for Miranda warnings to be required. Custody and interrogation.

Miranda warnings are only necessary on those occasions when a suspect is undergoing actual custodial interrogation. Therefore, generally an officer must only advise a suspect of the warnings when those two things happen at the same time. They must first, be in custody. Then there must be some sort of questioning of the individual.

What is custody?

Custody is not limited to one specific situation, circumstance or definition. The main consideration is whether someone was free to leave and more specifically whether he/she “… is physically deprived of his freedom in any significant way or is placed in a situation in which he reasonably believes that his freedom of action or movement is restricted.” Commonwealth v. Romberger, 312 A.2d 353 (Pa. 1973). Not every case is as clear as having someone handcuffed, in the back of a cop car, and informed that they were under arrest and not free to leave. Each situation must be analyzed based on its specific facts and circumstances and possibly challenged by a skilled criminal defense attorney.

What is interrogation?

Interrogation occurs when someone is in custody and asked questions by law enforcement. Or when officers make statements that are likely to elicit responses from the subject. Or when officers make statements intending to elicit a response. Certain questions will be permitted no matter the circumstance. (i.e. The necessary questions for the processing of an arrested individual) Still, the “interrogation” that is prohibited is typically questions relating to the facts or circumstances surrounding the case/cases being investigated. It is also important to note that random and spontaneous statements made to police are not covered and will be admissible even without Miranda. (It must also be noted, the interrogation must be done by law enforcement officers or someone acting on behalf of law enforcement.)

If Miranda was violated, suppression of the statements is typically the remedy applied by the Court. Still, this only applies to the statements made, not other evidence.

In any criminal case where statements were made by the accused to law enforcement – it is crucial to have a criminal defense attorney analyze the evidence and determine if any statements should be challenged.

 


 

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  Please contact DiCindio Law for a consultation and to discuss what law is relevant to your case.

Mike DiCindio is a criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale as well as in Montgomery County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County, Bucks County and Berks County.

 

 

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Michael DiCindio

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