Miranda rights are a fairly well-known aspect of criminal law, thanks largely to the procedurals and crime dramas that dominate primetime television. Nearly everyone is familiar with the speech that officers give to suspected criminals who are being arrested, detailing the person’s rights regarding the criminal process. These rights include the right not to say anything and the knowledge that if the suspect does say anything, the statement can be used as evidence against the suspect.
What you may not know about Miranda rights is that they are as important to the criminal procedures for the law enforcement officials as they are for those under arrest. If arresting officers do not read the Miranda rights to the individual who is being arrested, then any information that law enforcement officer later obtains from the arrested person’s testimony may be ruled inadmissible in court. This is true in every state, including Louisiana, and in some instances, it may make it difficult or impossible for law enforcement to secure a conviction.
Imagine a victim is sexually assaulted or raped near the area in which you live. Police learn that you live near the area and the victim of the assault names you as the perpetrator of the crime. Police may then arrest you for further interrogation, and throughout the course of the interrogation, you may reveal that you were at home when the crime was taking place and that you have no alibi. As innocent as it may seem to claim that you were at home by yourself, you have now claimed that you were in the area of the crime during the time of the crime, and nobody can testify that you were not committing the crime, which can be damning in a court of law.
As the prosecution attempts to use this information to paint you as having opportunity to commit the sex crime, your defense attorney may ask if you were read your Miranda rights. If you can prove that you were not read your Miranda rights, then your claims about your whereabouts could be thrown out, removing some of the most incriminating evidence that the prosecution had: your own testimony. If you are accused of a sex crime and you want to take full advantage of your rights, consider meeting with an attorney.