Miranda Exception: When The Police Don't Have To Read Your Rights

Popular media has probably exposed you to the idea that the police have to read your Miranda rights before putting you in custody. However, these sensational portrayals of legal drama often forget to mention that Miranda rights don't apply in all cases; here are some of the situations in which your Miranda rights may be suspended:

There Was a Public Safety Issue

The prosecution may be able to use your interrogation as evidence in court if the police can prove that there was a public safety issue at stake. This is especially true if you had weapons, or the police suspected that you had them, at the time of your questioning. The rationale is that public safety trumps your personal rights, especially if you are the one endangering the public. The exception is also helpful in emergency situations where reading the Miranda rights would waste even more time.

A good example is where the police suspect someone of leaving an explosive in a store. If the police ask the suspect about the location of the explosive without reading the Miranda rights, the information revealed by the suspect can still be used against them in court.

The Questioning Led the Police to a Witness

The results of your questioning may also be used against you in court if they lead to a witness with valuable evidence against the court; the witness will be allowed to testify. For example, if you mention someone's name during the interrogation, and the police manage to track them down, it will be legal for the witness to testify even if the police didn't read your Miranda rights during the interrogation.

The Questioning Led the Police to Tangible Evidence

In addition to a witness, tangible evidence unearthed by a Miranda-less interrogation can also be admitted in evidence. For example, if the police interrogate you (without reading your Miranda rights) and manage to recover a gun used in a robbery, the gun will be admitted as evidence during your trial.

The Discovery of the Evidence Was Inevitable

Lastly, if a Miranda-less interrogation unearths evidence that the police would have found via other ways, then the evidence can still be used against you in court. Take an example where the police interrogate you without reading your Miranda rights, and you end up telling them about some stolen merchandise. Assume that the police also interrogate another suspect after reading their Miranda rights, and the suspect also tells the police about the loot. In this case, it can be argued that the police would still have found the loot without your Miranda-less interrogation, allowing the loot to be used as evidence against you.

If you are accusing the police of violating your Miranda rights, expect them to try to fit your case in one of the exceptions. Let a criminal defense law office like McFarland & Masters LLC help you poke holes in their case and see to it that your rights are upheld.