One of the most commonly misunderstood parts of the law is the 5th Amendment, the Right not to incriminate yourself. The right against self-incrimination basically says that you don’t have to testify against yourself, talk about the case, etc. This puts the burden on the State Attorney to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
This amendment was born out of a horrible judicial systems. It was inspired by Europe and America’s attempt to create a new and more fair way that court systems worked. The 5th Amendment was one of a number of Amendments that favored liberty and the protection of people. It favored this over simply convicting people, regardless of their innocence.
However, as the American judicial system chugged along in it’s early stages, the 5th Amendment didn’t really seem to have any teeth. Because confessions obtained through brutality were easy to come by. The early stages of 5th Amendment jurisprudence focused on Due Process rights more than the Miranda Warnings protection.
However, after a series of Due Process fights were had, the judicial system decided it needed even more protection of this basic constitutional right not to self incriminate yourself. The Miranda Warnings were born. The Miranda Warnings are not the 5th Amendment right themselves, but merely the vehicle that Courts have used to protect the right against self incrimination.
What happens if i’m not given my Miranda Warnings?
Clearly, a confession must be voluntary otherwise what is the good of actually introducing it at trial as evidence. So when the police read Miranda Warnings, they are merely attempting to let you know that if you talk, it’s voluntary and not because you are being forced to say something you don’t mean. When police officers fail to read Miranda Warnings, there is this misconception that the case must now be dismissed.
This however is not the case. Because Miranda is the required vehicle for a confession to be introduced at trial, the failure to give Miranda Warnings only means that a person’s confession is not admissible where they are not read Miranda warnings. In other words, the case goes on, and the state can still attempt to prove the case. The only thing the state will not be able to introduce is the confession. Everything else is fair game.
If you have questions about your rights and whether the State should or should not be allowed to introduce a confession at trial, give us a call. 407-930-8912.