Since the police didn’t read me my rights will the Judge dismiss my criminal charge?  I’ve heard that question more than a few times.  Primarily because of police shows on television many people believe that failure of the police to read an accused his (or her) rights will result in a dismissal of their charge.  It is a little more complicated than that however.

In the case of Miranda v. Arizona, the United States Supreme Court set out a bright line rule requiring police officers to read suspects certain warnings (Miranda warnings) if while in custody they are interrogated.  If a person is not in police custody or the person begins to volunteer information the police may not need to give these warnings.  In many cases the police may arrest someone but not question them.  In such a case they do not have to give the warnings. 

The warnings which most people have heard on television are as follows:

You have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. 

You have the right to have an attorney and to have that attorney present with you during any questioning.  If you are indigent an attorney will be appointed to represent you.

But what if someone is arrested and taken into custody by the police and questioned without the giving of these warnings?  A motion should be made to suppress any statement made by the accused and should be granted by the Court in most instances.