When you are a suspect in a crime or have been arrested, you have important constitutional rights to protect you from illegal searches and seizures of property, illegal arrests, and much more. One important right you have is to be given your Miranda warnings in certain situations. Although this is a basic right you have by law, some police officers don't always follow it.
When Is a Miranda Warning Required in Virginia?
Officers are required to give Miranda warnings when two specific conditions are met:
- You are in "custody"
- There's an interrogation, or some form of questioning that one could reasonably expect to lead to an incriminating response
Both conditions must be present before Miranda warnings are required. Therefore, you can be questioned by the police before being taken into custody, and anything you say at that point can be used against you later in court.
What is considered custody is much broader than formal arrest and is defined by hundreds of legal opinions from state and federal courts. Those legal opinions also set forth a number of exceptions to the Miranda requirement.
What Are Your Miranda Rights in Virginia?
If Miranda is required, you must be informed of certain constitutional rights before the interrogation begins. Those rights include being informed of the following:
- That you have a right to remain silent
- That anything you say can and will be used against you
- That you have a right to speak to an attorney and to have an attorney present when you are questioned
If Miranda warnings are required, but not read, your statement may be inadmissible if your attorney files and successfully argues the appropriate motion. However, a Miranda violation normally doesn't invalidate the arrest. Rather, it deprives the prosecutors of the use of your statement in proving their case.
Even if the police read you your Miranda rights, they can still violate your rights by not allowing you to enforce these important protections. For example, if the police continue to talk to you or ask you questions after you invoke your right to remain quiet or to request an attorney, this could be a violation that may result in your statements being suppressed.
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Are you a suspect in a criminal investigation or been charged with a crime? Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with a Fairfax Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer to learn what you can expect in your criminal proceeding and how our experienced legal team can help you reach the best possible outcome.