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Fort Lauderdale Functional Custody for Miranda Purposes Attorney

Thanks to the many movies and television shows that depict law enforcement officers slapping handcuffs on someone while reading them the Miranda warning, this has become one of the most misunderstood legal concepts. Most people think the statements they make when speaking to a police officer are not admissible in court unless the officer has read them these rights. Unfortunately, they then find out too late that is not the case. If you have been arrested and think your rights have been violated, our Fort Lauderdale functional custody for Miranda purposes attorney can help restore them.

Functional Custody for Miranda Purposes Does Not Apply to Detentions

Law enforcement officers are only required to read you your rights, otherwise known as the Miranda warning, when they place you under arrest or take you into custody and interrogate you. If the police are only detaining you, but you are not actually in their custody, they are not required to read you the Miranda warning.

For example, if a police officer pulled you over for a broken headlight and then came to suspect that you were drunk, any statements you make can be used against you up until the point the officer arrests you or takes you into custody for questioning. If the officer does take you into custody or arrest you, they then must read you the Miranda warning.

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Functional Custody for Miranda Purposes and the Accident-Reporting Privilege

When drivers are speaking to police after an accident, they have additional protections to ensure they will not incriminate themselves. This is known as the accident-reporting privilege. After an accident, anything said by the parties involved is generally considered admissible in court. This is not true though, when the police officer suspects one person of committing a crime. For example, an officer may visit the scene of an accident and upon arriving, suspect that one of the drivers was drunk and caused the crash.

In this instance, anything said by the suspect is not considered admissible in court unless the officer has clearly indicated that a criminal investigation has begun. This investigation typically takes place moments after the investigation into the accident has ended. By informing all parties involved that the civil investigation is over and a criminal investigation has begun, the officer has “switched hats” and as a result, anything said can be used against the parties in court. Officers will often read the suspect their Miranda rights to indicate the start of the criminal investigation.

What is Functional Custody for Miranda Purposes?

The term ‘custody’ generally means that an officer has taken a person to another place, such as the police department. However, there are times when functional custody may have taken place. Functional custody occurs when a police officer has detained someone for such a significant period of time, the suspect feels as though they are essentially in custody. Additionally, if an officer asks a driver to step out of their vehicle or asks them how much they have had to drink, that could also be considered functional custody, even though the suspect has not been arrested.

Call Our Fort Lauderdale Functional Custody for Miranda Purposes Attorney Now

If you believe you were placed into functional custody and law enforcement violated your rights, our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney at Meldon Law can help with your case. Call us today at 800-373-8000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn about your legal options.

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