When people in Pennsylvania are accused and arrested on criminal charges, police have the obligation to inform them of their constitutional rights against self-incrimination. These Fifth Amendment rights have been distilled into a standard Miranda warning, named after the 1966 Supreme Court case that mandated its usage nationwide. The words are familiar to many, whether through personal experience or through their propagation in television and movie police dramas. Miranda warnings advise people of their right to remain silent, that anything they say can be used against them in court, of their right to an attorney and that one will be appointed for those who cannot afford to pay for an attorney.
In short, people are informed that they do not have to speak to police and can ask for a lawyer. These rights persist despite any other techniques or tactics used by police in order to elicit a confession or other information under interrogation. These are more than just words; Miranda warnings can have a major effect on the outcome of a criminal case. If people give a confession to police under arrest after not being provided with a proper Miranda warning, they may be able to have it taken off the table as a coerced and unlawful confession.
A confession or other statements obtained without the correct warnings may be excluded as inadmissible in court as involuntary. Even more, other evidence, including physical evidence, obtained as a result of that information may be rendered inadmissible in a criminal trial.
Despite the serious effects of a Miranda violation on the potential results of a criminal case, people continue to face police violations of their rights. A criminal defense attorney may help people to protect their rights, expose police misconduct and aim to prevent a conviction.