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Can an Improper Miranda Warning Lead to a Reversal of a Criminal Conviction in Tennessee?

In certain situations, a person must be read their Miranda rights, which are important rights for a person to understand in a criminal case. Having a basic understanding of these rights can help you avoid making critical mistakes that could adversely affect your case. If you have any questions about these rights or how not having them read to you may impact your criminal case, contact our experienced Middle Tennessee criminal defense lawyers.

Miranda warnings

Miranda warnings were designed to educate criminal suspects of certain constitutional rights. The rights limit the government’s ability to investigate, prosecute and punish criminal suspects. The rights are named after the landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona that every criminal suspect arrested and taken into custody must be made aware of certain fundamental constitutional protections. Law enforcement must explain the following rights to criminal suspects:

  • To remain silent
  • That anything the suspect says or does can be used against him or her
  • The right to an attorney
  • The right to be appointed an attorney if he or she cannot afford one

Effect of Miranda violations

The effect of not being informed of Miranda warnings is that the statement itself that a suspect makes cannot be used as evidence against him or her if he or she was not given these warnings. These rights must only be read if the individual is arrested or in police custody. If the suspect’s statement is invalidated and this statement led to finding other evidence against him or her, this additional evidence may also be deemed inadmissible.


However, it is important to understand that a Miranda violation does not immediately result in a dismissal of charges. If there is other evidence that was procured that was not a direct result of the incriminating statement, this evidence can still be used against the defendant and the case can proceed. However, if the Miranda violation resulted in nearly all of the evidence being deemed inadmissible, this may cause the criminal charges to be dropped.

To overturn a conviction is much more complicated. A conviction can be overturned through an appeal. An appeal is based on asking a higher court to correct a mistake made in the trial court. However, there are very strict guidelines that must be followed for an appeal to be successful. For example, the criminal defense lawyer must have objected to the admissibility of evidence on the basis of the lack of Miranda warnings and must preserve this issue for appeal. There are many situations when Miranda warnings are not necessary, so it is important to talk through this information with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

If you would like a better understanding of Miranda warnings and how they may impact your case, contact the experienced Middle Tennessee criminal defense lawyers at Dotson and Taylor, Attorneys at Law, for help. We can determine whether a Miranda violation will have a material effect on your case or whether it can be used to leverage a favorable plea agreement. Contact us online or call us at 615-890-1982 to get started.

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