State attorneys are celebrating after the Maryland Supreme Court ruled that a detective who told a murder suspect she could “get a lawyer at some point” if she could not afford one now did not misstate her Miranda rights. Just because the detective did not state the Miranda warning verbatim does not mean that he violated the rights of the suspect, according to the Supreme Court. They cited a California ruling that an officer need not “incant” the Miranda warning verbatim.
What does this mean for people who are pulled over and read a non-verbatim version of the Miranda warning? Essentially, if the content of the Miranda rights is intact, the form does not matter in the eyes of the law. But do the Miranda rights really protect you against statements you make to incriminate yourself? Unfortunately, they do not always do so. Even if you confess or incriminate yourself prior to a police officer’s reading your rights, that evidence may be presented at trial if the officer can prove that they would have been able to discover it without your help.
Ultimately, “polite but silent” is a good rule of thumb when you are under police custody. It may make you appear guilty or suspicious, but in order to avoid incriminating yourself, it is best to have an attorney present during all police interrogations. A good criminal defense attorney can make sure you are protected against self-incrimination, and can reassure you during intimidating interrogations.
Under arrest? In need of a competent and caring California criminal defense attorney? Look no further. Neil Shouse & Associates has a track record of strong criminal defense and the resources it takes to win at trial. Do you have a criminal defense case? Call today for a free, confidential consultation and more information on our services.