When people in North Carolina watch a police drama on television, they know to expect that an arrest scene will include the reading of the suspect’s Miranda rights. However, people did not always have their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination presented to them when they were arrested. A 1966 Supreme Court decision gave the name Miranda rights to the list of rights that police are required by law to inform people about when they arrest them on criminal charges. People are told that they have the right to remain silent, that the things they say can be used against them in court, that they have the right to a lawyer and that one can be provided if they cannot afford to pay.
In short, people are told that they do not have to talk to the police and can instead request an attorney, no matter what other tactics police may use later on in an attempt to get a confession or additional information from the person they arrested. While many people know about the language of Miranda warnings from television, they may not recognize just how important they can be for their own criminal cases.
When police do not provide proper Miranda warnings to people they arrest, it can have a major impact on the outcome of a criminal trial. Any confession or statement garnered from an arrested person by police without a proper warning may be excluded from court as a coerced, involuntary and inadmissible statement. Furthermore, other evidence gathered as a result of those statements could also be thrown out of court as a result.
People who are facing criminal charges may be unsure about how they can protect their rights, especially in the face of police violations. A criminal defense attorney may help people to expose police misconduct and work to prevent a conviction.