Violation of Federal Miranda Rights and Protection from Self-Incrimination
Were your Miranda rights not read by federal agent?
If you are ever contacted by federal agents as part of an investigation, the first thing you should do is remain silent and ask to contact a federal criminal lawyer because during this difficult time you need the guidance of a professional who is knowledgeable and experienced in the federal criminal procedure. Even though you may have given incriminating statements to federal agents, there still may be hope of excluding those incriminating statements and keeping you out of jail (e.g. your Miranda Rights were not read by federal agent; thus, your confession cannot be used at a criminal trial).
Federal Miranda rights violation
The most common ground for suppression of statements is a violation of a person’s Miranda rights, which are warnings to guard against self-incrimination during the interrogation of suspects in settings dominated or controlled by law enforcement officers. Statements elicited through a “custodial interrogation” cannot be used against you unless the Miranda safeguards guarantee that you (the accused) have been informed of your Miranda rights, and you freely waived your right to remain silent and to have an attorney present prior to the interrogation.
Your federal criminal lawyer must evaluate the following issues in every federal case:
- Would a reasonable person in the same situation have felt he/she was not at liberty to terminate the interrogation and leave?
- Where did the questioning take place? Particular locations are more threatening than others.
- Were the statements made by the suspect in response to government interrogation or express questioning?
- Were the statements incriminating?
Next, did law enforcement officials administer the Miranda warnings? Contrary to popular belief, a Federal Agent’s failure to administer the Miranda warnings to a suspect is not by itself a violation of his/her rights; a violation of the suspect’s rights occurs only when an “un-Mirandized” confession thereafter is introduced at a criminal trial.
Lastly, if the Miranda warnings were given:
- At what point were they given?
- Were they adequate?
- Were they waived? Was the waiver voluntary, knowing and intelligent?
- Were the Miranda rights invoked
Self-Incrimination: Protection under the 5th Amendment
The 5th Amendment protects people from “involuntary” incriminating statements to law enforcement, which can be used against them in a court of law. An “involuntary” confession is one where the suspect’s self-incrimination was the product of law enforcement “techniques and methods offensive to due process.” Involuntary statements are inherently untrustworthy, and the use of such statements “violates our fundamental sense of decency.” A court must consider the totality of the circumstances, focusing both on the nature of the accused and the techniques used by the federal agents.
Initially, the courts require that “coercive police activity” is a necessary requirement; thus, purely private coercion no matter how objectionable does not violate due process. However, coercion by private parties but “procured and sanctioned” by federal agents may be sufficient.
Did federal agents use an “involuntary” statement from you?
Next, your federal criminal attorney must determine if law enforcement officials elicited an “involuntary” statement from you, notwithstanding Miranda warnings, by evaluating the following:
- What was the mental state of the accused?
- Was the accused on probation or parole?
- Was the accused intoxicated through alcohol or drugs at the time?
- What was the physical condition of the accused?
- Was there physical coercion?
- Was there psychological coercion?
- What was the intensity and length of the interrogation?
- Any promises of benefits of leniency?
- Any deceitful behavior by law enforcement?
Let us show you how we protect our own. Call Wallin & Klarich today
The experienced California federal criminal lawyers at Wallin & Klarich can help you if you are charged with a federal crime in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville, West Covina or San Diego. With over 30 years of experience as federal criminal attorneys, Wallin & Klarich will guide you through this difficult and stressful process.
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