I Wasn’t Read My Rights
Just because a person was arrested does not mean they have to be read their right (Miranda Warnings), on the flip side a person could be read Miranda and not arrested. The Miranda Warning informs a person of some of the rights or protections you have during a criminal investigation or post-arrest. The first and probably most important is the right to remain silent and not have that silence used against you. Beware if you choose to answer questions your statements can be used against you in future criminal proceedings (i.e. trial). You also have the right you have an attorney present during any questioning and if you can’t afford to hire an attorney you have the right to have one appointed to represent you. For this warning to be read two things need to happen, first, you need to be detained or in custody, and two you need to be questioned or interrogated. So first a person must be detained, meaning that they are not free to leave or that a reasonable person would feel they are not able to leave. This does not mean the cops have to have handcuffs on you and you’re in the back seat of a police car. You could be detained on the side of the road, in a parking lot, in an interview room at the police station, or even at a business. The second part is that the cops need to be questioning you or interrogating you, essentially asking you about a potential criminal offense and those answers could be self-incriminating. For Miranda to apply you need both factors to be present, not just one. So, if you are not detained then a cop can ask you questions without needing to read you your rights. An example of this could be in what cops refer to as a knock and talk, they go to a person’s home, knock on the door, and just simply ask questions. That person who is at their home, possibly just standing in the doorway or on the front porch is most likely not going to be considered detained or in custody absence of some show of authority or order by the officer. Miranda is also not triggered simply by being detained or arrested, if a cop does not ask you any questions about the incident, then there is no need for Miranda to be read. Simple questions commonly referred to as booking questions, like name, date of birth, address is not questions that would lead to someone possibly providing self-incriminating answers. So, with all of these possible variables what is a person to do? First, it is important to know that you do not have to speak with a law enforcement officer regarding a criminal case or investigation. If Miranda is read then always ask to speak with an attorney, do not answer any questions without having an attorney present, or at the very least consult with an attorney before answering questions. This next sentence is one of the most important lines to remember, “if I’m not under arrest am I free to go, if not I want to speak with my attorney”. By doing this you will find that if you are detained or maybe potentially arrested if the answer is you are not, then you can choose to freely walk away and not answer any questions which is what you should do. If you are not free to leave then by asking for an attorney you have invoked your right to have a lawyer present with you before the cops can ask you any questions, which is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and the best thing you can do for your case. If you have been arrested or suspected of a crime it is important to know your rights, your options, and the potential defenses you may have in your specific case, at Meldon Law we have the knowledge and experience to assist you in every aspect of your criminal case. The attorneys at Meldon Law, know the rights you have and are dedicated to defending them and defending you if you have been charged with a crime or are suspected of committing a crime call us at 352-373-8000 for a free consultation.