Over the course of the ten years that I’ve been an attorney, the most common question I have been asked is: Can the charges be dropped if the police did not read me my rights? There is a big misconception about this, so I want to clear that up.
The answer is almost always no; charges rarely, if ever, get dropped if you were not advised of your constitutional rights. The most important right we have is the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
However, the police are not required to read those rights to us when we are arrested. The police are required to read those rights when we are under “custodial interrogation”, which means that any questioning initiated by law enforcement after being taken into custody or if we are deprived of freedom in and significant way. In short, if the police want to obtain incriminating evidence from us that they will use in trial down the road to convict us, then the police surely have to advise us of our rights to remain silent and to an attorney.
Statements made without advising us of our rights will be inadmissible as evidence in court, making it more difficult or maybe even impossible to procure a conviction. Hence this would be a motivating factor for the State to dismiss the charges in court, which the police would want to avoid.
However in instances of arrest for drug possession, the police have all the evidence they need to procure a conviction, alleviating the need of an interrogation. The case will not get dismissed based on the grounds that the rights were not read.
Whatever the situation may be, always remember you have the right to remain silent! Before answering any questions while in police custody, tell them you want your attorney present. When in need of legal representation, you want an experienced criminal attorney at your side. Give me a call at The Law Office of Leon Matchin, phone (732) 662-7658 today for a free consultation.