The Miranda rule guarantees that individuals detained by police will not be interrogated in a way that puts them at a disadvantage (i.e., without a lawyer or legal defense counsel).

The Miranda rule guarantees that the individual:

  • Has the right to remain silent
  • Has a right to a criminal defense attorney
  • Will be provided with an attorney if they cannot afford one

Also, the individual must be advised that if they choose to waive their right to remain silent, their words can be used against them in court.

These rights are typically read immediately after the individual is taken into custody by the police. A person is taken into “custody” when they are not free to leave. Many suspects choose to remain silent until their lawyer arrives, after which they may proceed with answering questions.

What’s the Right to Remain Silent?

The right to remain silent refers to the presumption that the criminal suspect can decide not to say anything if the police ask them questions. This goes hand-in-hand with the constitutional right against self-incrimination during the trial. The person indicates that they wish to remain silent until they meet with their attorney.

Yet, if the suspect begins talking, they are usually deemed to have waived or forfeited their right to silence. This means that the statement they said of their own volition can then be used during the trial. There are certain exceptions in which Miranda rights don’t have to be read before interrogation, such as during a hostage negotiation situation.

When Are My Miranda Rights Required?

Miranda warnings are required once the person is in custody and under interrogation by law enforcement.

Custody
A person is in custody once they are deprived of their freedom of action in any significant way and cannot leave of their free will. This can transpire in jail, at the crime scene, in public, etc. Once in custody, police must give the individual a Miranda warning before questioning. Being pulled over or a brief questioning by police during a stop would not be considered being in custody, and police are not required to give Miranda warnings.

Interrogations
Interrogations are any police questioning that the police know or should know would require an incriminating response. Any interrogations of police of a person in custody require Miranda warnings, or any statements made would be inadmissible unless voluntary waiver.

Waiver
A person can waive their Miranda Rights and their right to have an attorney present during custodial interrogations. The waiver must be made knowingly and voluntarily without any police coercion or force.

Can I Be Arrested Without Being Read My Miranda Rights?

Yes. Miranda rights only defend against incriminating oneself during custodial interrogation. All the police need to arrest someone is probable cause. The police are only required to read the Miranda rights when interrogating a suspect in police custody. The police are mindful of when Miranda rights need to be read and often will question a person without placing that individual under arrest.

Will My Case Be Dismissed if the Police Do Not Read Me My Miranda Rights?

No. The police must only advise a suspect of his Miranda rights before beginning a custodial interrogation.

  • Routine Questioning: To establish identity such as name, address, and social security number, routine questions will not require a Miranda warning. Statements made before arrest and voluntary statements made after arrest do not transgress the Miranda rights as long as the police do not deliberately extract those statements.
  • Traffic Stops: Miranda warnings are not required during a traffic stop, and a person cannot invoke their right to remain silent. Answers to police questions are required when drivers are stopped for traffic violations because of road safety. Refusing information would cause the driver to receive a more severe offense.

What Happens If I Invoke My Miranda Rights?

Police interrogation is to cease instantly upon exercising the right to remain silent or request an attorney. The police may not return to question a person if they request an attorney. However, the police use many methods to get suspects to change their minds about remaining silent.

What Is Police Questioning?

The Miranda rule only applies to “police questioning.” This is any interrogation done during official detention or concerning an arrest. The interrogation must be geared towards obtaining information leading up to conviction, that is, that might be used in a trial.

Thus, specific questions asked by the police might not be deemed “police questioning” for Miranda purposes.

For instance, all detainees’ questions during routine, standard booking procedures are not deemed to be police interrogations. The detained individual can answer such questions without worry that the info will be held against them in court.

What Is Criminal Evidence?

Criminal evidence is any physical or verbal evidence presented to prove a crime. This evidence can take various forms and may also be introduced by the defendant to prove that they are not guilty.

It is illegal to hide any of this evidence, an action known as spoliation of evidence, from the other side or the authorities. In any criminal trial, the burden is on the prosecution to establish that the defendant perpetrated the crime.

What Are Some Forms of Criminal Evidence?

Criminal evidence may come in two different forms, verbal or physical. Examples of verbal evidence may include:

  • Confessions made by the defendant
  • Testimony offered by witnesses and expert witnesses
  • Text of documents such as a search warrant or other files
  • Spoken evidence obtained through a wiretap or other similar technology

Physical evidence is any tangible evidence and is usually offered as an exhibit. Examples can include:

  • Weapons or other tools used to commit a crime
  • Criminal contraband such as drugs, drug money, and drug paraphernalia
  • DNA, blood, or bodily samples
  • Photos or video footage
  • Demonstrative evidence
  • Footprints or other kinds of tracks
  • Scientific and forensic evidence

All criminal evidence may be further classified into either direct or circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence supplies the prosecution with true information “beyond a reasonable doubt” (for instance, a videotape showing the defendant injuring the victim). Circumstantial evidence does not prove a theory but rather only suggests proof supporting the theory (for instance, a knife that fits the description of witness testimony).

What Evidence Is Admissible in Court?

For evidence to be admissible in court, the evidence must be logically relevant, material, and competent. For evidence to be relevant, it must have a reasonable tendency to help prove or disprove a fact. The evidence does not have to make a fact certain but rather make a fact of consequence more or less probable than it would be without the evidence.

Even if the evidence is relevant, the evidence must be legally relevant, meaning that the probative value of the evidence must not be substantially outweighed by the dangers of unfair prejudice, confusion of jury, waste of time, and misleading of the jury.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Police Custody Issues?

Laws such as the Miranda Rule can occasionally be disjointed to understand. This is particularly accurate if there are points of the interrogation process that the defendant does not understand. This highlights the importance of getting a criminal lawyer as soon as one learns that one may be facing a criminal case. A qualified attorney can help when it comes to determining your rights in your particular case. Also, your lawyer can help represent you during the upcoming criminal hearings.

If the police have questioned you, you should immediately speak with a criminal defense lawyer to learn more about your rights, defenses, and the complicated legal system. An experienced attorney can help identify what statements should be excluded from the court and determine whether you can sue the police.