How and When Do Miranda Rights Come Into Play in a Criminal Case?
The way that Miranda is supposed to operate, and the way it actually does operate are two different issues. The way it is supposed to operate, is after somebody has been arrested for a crime, and the police want to ask him or her questions about the crime, they are required to read you your Miranda Rights, which is advising the suspect they have the right not to say anything, or they have the right to an attorney. That only happens once somebody has been arrested, and either taken to a precinct, taken to a holding cell, or to the district attorney’s office after they have been arrested, and there is a formal questioning process transpiring.
That is when Miranda is utilized. When a detective, or a prosecutor gets involved in a case, and sits down with the defendant, or the suspect, and advises then of their ability not to talk with law enforcement. That is when Miranda is used. What happens is if the police respond to the scene, and there is a suspect, they will ask that person questions prior to advising them of their Miranda Rights. In certain circumstances, the suspect’s answers are potentially admissible, and can be used against them if the case goes to trial. Other times they are inadmissible, because they did not read the Miranda Rights. Miranda is all about whether, or not somebody was advised of his or her ability to decline to speak with the police.
The police will talk to somebody without advising that person of their Miranda Rights, because they just want to get answers, and they want to figure out what is going on. In that scenario, those answers can be used against somebody. It is best that whether, or not you are advised of Miranda, you should not talk to the police. If you are a suspect, or if you are a person of interest, do not talk to the police, it is never going to help you. Therefore, when you are pulled over, an officer is not going to advise you of your Miranda Rights. They are going to ask you where you were coming from, and if you had something to drink, and that all falls outside the purview of Miranda arguably.
That is a scenario where they are not going to advise you of your rights, but they might try to use your answers against you. Therefore, you should politely decline to answer their questions, and provide them with your license, and registration and, that is all. People somehow think that the failure to read them their Miranda Rights somehow negates the legality of the arrest. That is not the case. Miranda is strictly about whether, or not a suspect or defendant’s statements can be used against them. It has little bearing on whether or not the arrest is valid.
The court strictly construes somebody’s right to be free from police invasion within their own home. Police are generally not permitted to effectuate an arrest inside somebody’s house. They are prohibited from banging down somebody’s door, and going in to arrest them. If the police come, and knock on your door, and you open it, and you invite them in, or you open the door, and exit your apartment, then a police officer is permitted to make the arrest. Being inside someone’s home is generally very good protection to be free from unwanted police intrusions.
That being said, you cannot just commit a crime on the street, run into your house, and think, “Hey, you guys can’t get me.” Therefore, there are exceptions to that, but as a rule, when police come knocking at your door, it is best not to let them in.
How Does Good Character and Clean Prior Record Impact a Criminal Case?
A good character and clean record definitely has a major impact on sentencing if the defendant ends up being convicted. Nevertheless, that is the type of thing where you are going to rely on your defense attorney to make the prosecutor aware of this, and provide the prosecutor with some information regarding your background. He will let them know who you are, if you are a productive member of society, that you are a hardworking person, and that will persuade the prosecutor to give you a favorable plea offer, and maybe reduce your case from a felony to a misdemeanor. If it is possible, or maybe instead of offering you a misdemeanor plea, they will offer you a lower plea than a misdemeanor, where you will not have a criminal record on file.
When someone makes a mistake, which can generally play a significant role in determining what type the criminal case proceeds against that person, it can also determine the offer set, and what type of resolution both sides agree upon. Sometimes the defense attorney will give some information directly to the judge if the prosecutor is unwilling to make a favorable offer, and expectantly have the judge put pressure on the prosecutor, if the judge is able to influence the prosecutor’s decision. It can be very helpful.