Can Statements Made Before Miranda Rights Be Used in Court?

In this closeup, focus is on a pair of handcuffs held by a police officer. The officer stands behind a man with his hands behind his back. A parked car is in the background.

Police must advise detained individuals of specific Constitutional rights, known as their Miranda rights. Failure of police to give the warnings when required may result in the inadmissibility of evidence in court. However, there are several exceptions to the Miranda rights rule. In those cases, a prosecutor may use statements made by a defendant before police read the Miranda rights.

When Are Miranda Rights Required?

The United States Supreme Court established the requirement for police to provide a statement of rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitutional prior to questioning a person. In the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, the Court first articulated the required police notification now commonly referred to as Miranda rights. The legal doctrine requires law enforcement to advise a detainee of their rights as soon as they are under custodial interrogation.

The notification by police must include advising the person of: 1) Their right to remain silent, 2) A warning that any statements made can be used against the person, 3) The person’s right to have an attorney present during questioning, and 4) The right to have an attorney appointed if the person cannot afford one. While everyone always has these rights and can exercise them at any time — even if an officer has not read them — police are required by law to advise a person of their Miranda rights as soon as the person is in custody and being questioned.

There are several exceptions to the requirement for advising persons in custody of their Miranda rights. One exception involves general and routine questions not intended to elicit incriminating information, such as asking for identification. In addition, Miranda rights are not required for preliminary questioning during routine traffic stops, unless the person is detained and arrested for a violation, such as DUI.

Police also are not required to give Miranda rights when law enforcement officers ask questions reasonably prompted by a concern for public safety. This exception originated in a U.S. Supreme Court case and is known as the public safety or emergency exception to the Miranda requirement. The exception permits limited questioning without requiring Miranda warnings when a police officer has an objectively reasonable need to protect the public or the police from immediate danger.

There is one other exception that applies to statements obtained by a jailhouse informant or undercover agents. Miranda rights are not required in those situations.

Effect of Police Failure to Provide Miranda Rights

If the police fail to advise a person of their Miranda rights in a situation where the notification is required, it does not mean the charges will be dismissed automatically. It means that the prosecutor cannot admit the statements into evidence in court. This exclusionary rule may also apply to other evidence obtained as the result of illegally obtained statements, depending on the circumstances. That evidence may be considered as “fruit of the poisonous tree” and excluded from being introduced in court, depending on the facts of the case.

In some cases, the prosecutor may have other sufficient evidence to pursue the criminal charges without using the incriminating statements given without Miranda rights. However, in other situations, there will not be sufficient evidence to prosecute without the incriminating statements. Whether a specific case involving failure to provide the warnings proceeds depends entirely on the facts in the individual case.

It's important to note that the exclusionary rule does not apply to statements made to police voluntarily by a person who is not being questioned. If a person admits guilt or states other facts that imply guilt on their own without police questioning or prompting, the statements may be admitted even if rights were not provided. Whether the statements were voluntary will be determined from the facts and circumstances at the time the statements were made.

Does Your Case Involve Miranda Rights Issues?

Determining if the law requires a person to be advised of their Miranda rights depends entirely on the facts of a specific situation. Reaching a conclusion regarding the requirement requires gathering detailed facts and conducting legal analysis. If you are in a situation where there are questions about whether your Miranda rights were properly provided, you should talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

For additional information about your rights when questioned by police, please read our previous blog post, How to Handle Police Encounters in Kansas.

Talk With Our Experienced Kansas Criminal Defense Lawyers

Our team of criminal defense attorneys at Sloan Law Firm takes pride in their comprehensive experience, knowledge, and skill in matters of Kansas criminal law, including issues relating to Miranda rights. We aggressively pursue your case to find the best resolution. We negotiate vigorously with prosecutors and don’t hesitate to take a case to trial if necessary to get a fair result.

If you have a police encounter or are arrested, under investigation, or being questioned by police, please contact us to discuss your situation. We represent clients for all types of Kansas criminal charges.

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