Sometimes a criminal defendant will tell their lawyer ‘the police did not read me my rights.”  Does it matter and if so, when?

Anyone who has watched a police television show is familiar with the often repeated “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you…”  This is commonly known as a Miranda warning.  Miranda warnings find their roots in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  The Fifth Amendment contains a clause providing a person does not have to provide testimonial evidence against him or herself.  This clause is widely known as the privilege against self-incrimination.  So how does it work and why is it important?

How Miranda works

Miranda warnings are not required for every police encounter.  Two conditions must be present before Miranda warnings are required.  First, the police must have a person in a ‘custodial’ situation.  Second, the questioning must be ‘interrogation’ or its functional equivalent.  Generally speaking, a custodial situation occurs when a reasonable person would not believe he was free to leave.  The facts and circumstances of each situation will determine if a person was in a custodial situation for the purpose of Miranda.  Interrogation occurs when the police ask questions they knew or should have known would elicit an incriminating response.  A lawyer experienced in criminal defense will examine the circumstances and determine if an how to best proceed on a motion to suppress the statements.

Why Miranda warnings are important

In most cases, if a defendant makes an incriminating statement, the prosecutor could admit that statement at a trial.  If the statement contains incriminating information, and Miranda dictates have been violated, the defendant has a possible remedy.  A skilled Boston, MA Criminal Defense Attorney will examine the facts and circumstances leading up to the statement.  A Motion to Suppress the Statements of a Defendant could lead to suppression of incriminating statements at a trial.  Many times, suppression of a statement means a stronger defense for the client.


The Law Office of Jeffrey Miller has successfully suppressed statements of his clients.  CLICK HERE to read about cases where Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Jeff Miller has successfully suppressed statements.  If you have a criminal case where the government is seeking to introduce incriminating statements at your trial, contact the Law Office of Jeffrey Miller at 617-482-5799 for an appointment.