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What Determines If a Suspect Is in Police Custody?
Custody occurs when someone is arrested, or under other circumstances where the suspect submits to the authority of a police officer. In making the determination of whether a suspect is in custody, a court looks at the circumstances of the custody, not the opinions of either the person being questioned or the officers.
Ultimately, every relevant circumstance surrounding the situation will play a role in determining custody. Common factors include:
- Informed: Whether the suspect is informed that the questioning is voluntary, that he is not under arrest, and that he is free to leave, or to the contrary.
- Freedom of Movement: Whether the suspect is free to move about without remaining in the presence of law enforcement.
- Consent: Courts will look to who initiated the contact, and if the suspect willfully provided information.
- Accusatory: The degree to which the suspect is confronted with evidence of his guilt.
- Oppressive: Whether the atmosphere of the questioning was dominated by the police.
Importance of Police Custody
If a suspect is not informed of his Miranda rights while in police custody, any evidence obtained through police questioning may be inadmissible in court. For example, if a suspect is in police custody, and an interrogation occurs without the suspect being read Miranda rights, and the defendant confesses to the crime, the confession may be inadmissible in court against the defendant because of the failure of the police to read the suspect his Miranda rights.
What Can You Do if You Are Accused of a Crime?
If you are accused of a crime, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses, and the legal system.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 08-21-2014 12:44 PM PDT
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