If you have watched any criminal based shows on television, you most likely know what Miranda warnings are. When arresting an individual, the police officer on the television show would say, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”
Your Miranda rights protect you from self-incrimination pursuant to the 5th Amendment. If you are arrested and Miranda rights are not read to you, there is a chance that the criminal case will be affected, i.e., dismissed.
The Miranda warnings must be provided by the police before they can question individuals who are arrested for crimes, such as drug related crimes. If the police question the individuals without providing the warnings and the arrested individuals answer, their statements may not be used in a court of law.
Consider the following example. An individual is arrested in West Philadelphia and charged with Possession with the Intent to Deliver (PWID) drugs. The arresting officer does not read the individual his Miranda rights. At the station, another police officer questions the individual about his involvement in a drug ring. During the interrogation, the individual provides the name of his employer, i.e., the person providing the drugs, and admits that he has been selling them to high school kids on a daily basis.
Drug Case Dismissed – No Miranda Warnings
Even though the arrested individual admits that he was selling drugs to kids and the case should be an open and shut case, his statements given during the interrogation cannot be used against him. The reason? You guessed it, because his Miranda rights were not read to him.
In such a case, an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer would file a Motion to Suppress the individual’s statements. The judge would most likely grant the motion and not allow the statements to be used at trial, if there is one.
The fact that the individual’s statements cannot be used does not necessarily mean that the case would be dismissed. If the prosecution does not have any other evidence against the individual for the crime, i.e., PWID, then the case would be dismissed.
Drug Case NOT Dismissed – No Miranda Warnings
However, if the prosecution has other evidence against the individual, the case can still proceed. For instance, let’s says that prior to the arrest, undercover police officers set up a sting to buy drugs from the individual. The day prior to the arrest, an undercover police officer contacts the individual and a meeting is arranged. They meet at a corner in a neighborhood in West Philadelphia. The police officer buys 5 bags of meth from the individual. The police officer then tells the individual that he has friends that want to buy as well. The individual tells the officer to have his friends call him and that he’s got plenty to go around. The police officer completes the sale and leaves with 5 bags of meth.
In this case, even though the individual’s statements are suppressed because he was not read his Miranda warnings, there is other evidence against him. The police officer would be a witness for the prosecution and testify about the drug transaction. In addition, if drugs and money were found in the arrested individual’s home after executing a proper search warrant, the drugs and money would also be used as evidence against the defendant. The case would proceed without the individual’s statements.
Help from a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer After an Arrest
If you or a loved one was arrested for a crime in Philadelphia, seek help from top rated Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer, David Nenner. Mr. Nenner has helped countless individuals and aggressively fights for his clients. Unlike many criminal defense lawyers, Mr. Nenner always offers a FREE initial consultation. Call 215.564.0644 to schedule a free consult.
Recent News Coverage – Mr. Nenner Gets Wrongly Accused Client Released from Jail
Mr. Nenner was recently interviewed by the Philadelphia Daily News about his client who was wrongly accused of murder and spent the last 17 months in jail. A murder trial was scheduled. However, due to Mr. Nenner’s investigation and research, he uncovered evidence which challenged the DA’s theory that his client was the shooter. As a result, Mr. Nenner was able to get his client released from jail. Click here to read more about the case.