You’ve undoubtedly seen and heard it before. Police arrest a suspect for a crime. We all know the words that come next. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you. But what happens if a police officer fails to read you your rights in New Jersey? People charged with crimes in NJ often say: “They didn’t read me my rights!” Here’s when the police must read you your Miranda Rights in New Jersey and the consequences that failure to do so may have on your criminal case.
If you have been charged with a crime and are wondering if an officer’s failure to read you your rights could help with your defense, contact a dedicated criminal defense lawyer at our firm to discuss the specific facts of your case. We represent clients facing charges for a broad range of criminal offenses such as burglary, terroristic threats, simple assault, cocaine possession, shoplifting, and more in Middlesex County. Find a lawyer who can explain your rights and aggressively fight for them in Edison, New Brunswick, South Brunswick, East Brunswick, Monroe Township, and surrounding areas by calling (732) 659-9600 today for a free consultation.
Do Police Have to Read me my Rights in NJ?
If police never read you your Miranda rights during your arrest, you may think that you have an automatic defense to criminal prosecution. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Police are only required to read you your rights before they subject you to what is called “custodial interrogation.” Interrogation, loosely defined, is formal questioning designed to elicit incriminating responses, i.e. questioning designed to make you admit to facts that tend to prove you are guilty of the crime that the police suspect you committed. Custodial interrogation is questioning that is carried out while your freedom of movement is constrained, for example: when you are handcuffed and seated in a police cruiser, confined in an interrogation cell at a police station, or shackled to a bench in a jail.
If police want to engage in custodial interrogation, the Miranda case and cases following it require them to read you the list of rights that you have likely heard many times in movies and on TV:
- You have the right to remain silent;
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in court;
- You have the right to have an attorney present; and
- If you are unable to afford an attorney, one may be appointed for you free of charge.
The bottom line is that police are not require to read you your rights if they only question you briefly at a roadside traffic stop, under certain circumstances, or if they otherwise do not subject you to custodial interrogation prior to arresting you. Under these circumstances, a New Jersey police officer’s decision not to read you your rights does not mean that you can automatically get out of a criminal charge, as disappointing as that may be.
Cops didn’t give me Miranda Rights, can my Case be Dismissed?
Notwithstanding the situation discussed above, wherein an officer arrests you without formally questioning you, an officer’s failure to read you your rights can help your defense in certain situations. Sometimes an officer forgets or fails to read you your rights before questioning you about a suspected crime while you are at the station, in a police car, or when you are handcuffed at the scene. That’s a problem. If a court determines that you were subject to custodial interrogation and an officer did not read you your Miranda rights, any incriminating statements will likely be suppressed. An incriminating statement is anything that the prosecution may wish to introduce to the judge or jury to prove that you are guilty.
If the prosecution’s case depends on statements that you made to the police, and those statements are excluded from trial because the police violated your rights by failing to properly Mirandize you, the case against you may be dismissed. It is important to note that arguing a suppression motion successfully is a complex task that requires extensive legal knowledge and experience. By hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows how win on a motion to suppress evidence, you are better positioning yourself to prevail at a hearing on whether your rights were violated.
What if I wasn’t Read my Rights in Middlesex County?
As with everything related to your criminal case, the potential consequences of any failure to read you your rights depends on the unique facts of your case. If you believe your rights were violated by the police, it is in your interests to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. Our firm is dedicated to criminal law in New Jersey and we are here to provide specific answers you need. Contact us online or call (732) 659-9600 for immediate assistance.