Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Miranda warning: Did police remember to state yours?

Facing arrest in Louisiana is no small matter. Depending on the details of the events leading up to that unfavorable moment in your life, you may encounter serious challenges in trying to avoid conviction. Police officers often testify at criminal hearings. In fact, many situations, such as if you are facing drunk driving charges, amount to a cop's word against yours.

It is presumed that you are innocent of any crime, of course, unless proved otherwise, so at some point, someone needs to present evidence to the court that convinces a judge or jury that you did what prosecutors claim you did. You will hopefully be able to present a strong-enough defense to overcome the prosecution's quest to obtain conviction. A key factor in many cases has to do with a Miranda warning.

Did investigators question you?

Police can be quite intimidating when they want to be. It's a tactic they often use if they are trying to determine probable cause to make an arrest or if they are questioning you after taking you into custody. The following information explains how you can protect your rights regarding a Miranda warning:

  • Police must use clear wording to explain your rights to you.
  • They must do so before investigators interrogate you for any reason following your arrest.
  • If they interrogate you before you have been Mirandized, you may have grounds to request a dismissal of your case.
  • A Miranda warning informs you that you have a right to remain silent. It also states that if you do speak, prosecutors can use what you say against you in court.
  • Miranda rights also include the freedom to request legal representation, and the officer must tell you that the court will appoint an attorney for you if you can't afford to hire one.

The officer issuing your Miranda warning must also ask you if you have heard and clearly understood what he or she has said. You must respond. If you invoke your Fifth Amendment right to silence during an interrogation, all questioning must cease. Any violation of your rights may create grounds for inadmissibility of evidence or for complete dismissal of your case.

Exceptions to the rule

Remember that there are certain situations where police can question you without first stating a Miranda warning. If, for some reason, an officer thinks you are a danger to the general population, he or she can pursue any line of questioning pertinent to the circumstances. Evidence an officer gathers during such questioning is still admissible.

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Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

8048 One Calais Avenue | Suite A | Baton Rouge, LA 70809-3483 | Phone: 225-250-1812 | Fax: 225-769-0195 | Baton Rouge Law Office Map