It’s a very big misconception that the failure to read the defendant his Miranda rights could allow for a case to be dismissed. Generally speaking, that’s not the case. Miranda is required whenever someone is in a custodial interrogation, and that is a very particular legal term. What that means is the person is being questioned, and there is a sufficient show of force and “custody” that a reasonable person would not be free to leave. Miranda was developed by the U.S. Supreme Court to protect people who were being questioned by police in a custodial interrogation setting such that those statements that the person may make or provide the police could not be used in court. It has no effect other than protecting against those statements. So, if a police officer makes an arrest and they never question the arrestee, Miranda is not even required and may times, police officers won’t Mirandize them because it’s only required when the person who has been arrested is going to be questioned. The legal issue becomes whether or not the person was truly in a custodial interrogation before being either told or formally placed in handcuffs to acknowledge that, therefore, they are being formally placed under arrest. For instance, if a person is being pulled over for a traffic citation, and they are brought out of the car and investigated for something else and the officer starts asking questions about this other issue. At that point in time, the question might be whether or not Miranda should have been required, because they are essentially in custody. They wouldn’t be able to simply turn around and tell the officer they are going to leave and then you need to look at whether or not they are being asked any questions. The same would be true when someone goes to a police department to speak with police. How much do the police know at that point and is the person in custody, meaning are they free to leave or not on their own and are they then being questioned by police? So, Miranda and the cases that follow Miranda does not stand for the proposition that a failure to advise the person of your Miranda rights causes a case to be dismissed. It may have an effect upon statements that, maybe, were obtained by police and whether or not those statements are admissible in court and those statements may have led to additional evidence and if that’s the case and initial statement gets thrown out, the additional evidence that is recovered could be what we call fruit of the poisonous tree, and that might get thrown out too. Whether or not the case ultimately gets dismissed depends on the facts of the case and what other evidence may still exist despite the exclusion of that other evidence.
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