Criminal Sexual Conduct - What if Police Didn't Read Your Rights?

Prain Law, PLLC specifically concentrates on defending those charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan, which is broken-down into four basic Degrees of CSC:

Years of successfully defending Michigan CSC cases and taking them to trial have taught that certain questions that tend to come up repeatedly. One of our most important goals is making sure our clients' questions are answered clearly and to their satisfaction.

One of these common questions is The police never read me my rights. Does this help my case, or potentially get my case dismissed?

These days, most citizens have some idea of the concept of being read their “rights“ in connection with some form of police interrogation, arrest, or other action. This is likely due to popular culture, entertainment, and the media, including TV shows such as “Cops,” “Law and Order,” and others. From these popular sources, people sometimes get the impression that if police failed to read them their rights, it entitles them to some type of advantage in their case, possibly even a dismissal of Criminal Sexual Conduct charges completely.

In reality, there are only certain circumstances where these so-called "rights" must be read, and even if are not read when they should have been, it doesn’t mean the case will be dismissed, or that anything favorable will necessarily happen at all.

The reading of these “rights“ is actually properly called giving Miranda warnings, stemming from the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona, and they are intended to safeguard the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The “Miranda warnings” involve four basic warnings (and they do not need to be given verbatim):

  • That you have the right to remain silent;
  • That anything you say can be used against you in Court;
  • That you have the right to the presence of an Attorney; and
  • That if you cannot afford an Attorney, one will be appointed for you if you desire.

However, what many people are misunderstand is that these warnings really only have to be read to a suspect when the following basic circumstances exist:

  • The questioning must involve government conduct, essentially meaning the questioning must be by publicly paid police, not someone else.
  • The accused must be "in custody." "In custody does not necessarily mean in handcuffs, in a police car, or at a police station or jail. Rather, a person is considered to be "in custody" when, based on objective circumstances, the person was deprived of his or her freedom of action in a significant way. The key question is whether a reasonable person in the accused's shoes could believe that they were not free to leave.
  • The accused's statement must be in response to "interrogation," meaning words or conduct likely to elicit an incriminating response, as opposed to, for example, a spontaneous statement by the accused not in response to such questioning or conduct by police.

[Note that this is a very basic overview, and these factors have much more detailed explanations that encompass volumes of law books.]

If the Miranda warnings still are not read when these circumstances exist, it does not mean the case is dismissed. Rather, it triggers the "exclusionary rule," meaning that any statement made by the accused during such an interrogation generally must be "suppressed," meaning the Prosecution cannot use it at trial. In Michigan, this typically requires a pretrial Motion to be filed and an evidentiary hearing to be held. It may also cause other evidence obtained as a result of the accused's statements to be suppressed as well. But there are certain exceptions to this, such as if the accused testifies at trial in a manner inconsistent with what he told police - it is possible his statements may still be used to "impeach" his trial testimony.

But even without the accused's statements, the Prosecution may still have sufficient evidence to continue to prosecute and even convict, such as DNA evidence. If it were otherwise, a person accused of CSC could prevent their prosecution simply by exercising their right to refuse to speak. Moreover, in a Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct case, the law states that there does not need to be any corroborating evidence - you can be prosecuted and convicted for CSC based solely on the accuser's word alone.

As a Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorney, much experience in defending CSC cases makes it clear that most often, the investigation leading to potential CSC charges involves law enforcement attempting to interview the accused at some point. Experience also teaches that even an innocent person adamantly and honestly denying any form of Sexual Assault can still be at a high risk of making an inadvertent statement which, unbeknownst to them at the time, later ends up helping out the Prosecution and is thus still “incriminating.“

On the other hand, if the accused exercises their Constitutional right to decline to speak to law enforcement, that fact ( i.e., their silence) cannot be used against them in a Court of law and may not even properly be brought up at trial.

If you are charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan, contact Prain Law, PLLC to learn how to put the advantage of our successful experience in these cases to work for you.

Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorney Brian J. Prain of Prain Law, PLLC has been recognized and awarded for his success by some of the leading authorities, including the following:


Contact Prain Law, PLLC

Schedule a Free & Confidential Consultation
  • Please enter your name.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please select an option.
  • Please select an option.
  • Please enter a message.
    • Please agree to the following.

Prain Law, PLLC is focused only on the types charges featured on our website. This helps us deliver the decisive, effective advocacy for which our clients know us. We only serve individuals currently under investigation or who have a current case pending in court. Our firm does not represent injury victims, defendants who have already taken a plea or have been sentenced, or those seeking to expunge a criminal record. We do not respond to anyone who is not involved in a pending investigation or who has a court case for a type of charge we do not handle, but we wish you the very best of luck.