Questioning After Arrest

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 What Happens If the Police Do Not Read My Rights?

The Miranda warning requires police officers to read you the particular rights you have after your arrest. The police must provide Miranda warnings once you are placed in custody and before any interrogation or questioning. If the police fail to read you your rights before a custodial interrogation, anything you say cannot be used against you in the prosecutor’s case-in-chief at trial.

Many people believe that if they are placed under arrest and are not read their rights, their case can be dismissed, and they can escape punishment. This is not true. If the police place you under arrest, they do not need to provide any Miranda warnings unless they interrogate or question you in a way that would result in an incriminating response.

What Rights Are the Police Required to Provide?

Popularly known as the “Miranda” warning, a defendant’s rights consist of:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • If you say anything, what you say can be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to consult with a lawyer and have that lawyer present during any questioning.
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you so desire.
  • If you choose to talk to the police officer, you have the right to stop the interview at any time.

If the person is not placed in custody and has the freedom to leave, then no Miranda warnings are required, and anything the person says to the police can be used against them in a criminal trial. The police can also arrest the person if the person confesses voluntarily without any interrogation or questioning.

Does it Matter Where the Interrogation Takes Place?

It doesn’t matter where an interrogation occurs. If you are in custody, the police must read you your rights to question you and use your answers as evidence at trial. If you are not in police custody, “Miranda” warnings are not required to be read, and anything you say can be used at trial if you are later charged with a crime.

The police questioning also can take place in jail. The suspect does not have to respond to the police interrogation, and once the suspect raises their right to remain silent or asks for their attorney, the police must stop all questioning. A police officer cannot arrest a person just because they wish to remain silent.

Questioning or interrogations during a routine traffic stop do not require the police to provide Miranda warnings.

What If My Answers Were Forced Out of Me?

Voluntary disclosure of information is generally admissible at trial. However, police officers are not allowed to use physical force or psychological coercion to get you to talk. If police officers obtain information illegally, the information is not permitted at trial. Any evidence gathered as a result of illegal questioning will also be inadmissible in a criminal trial even if the evidence was found legally because the evidence would not have been found without the illegal interrogation by police.

Some interrogations that are illegal for police to engage in are:

  • Using some type of physical force or torture to get the suspect to talk
  • Use threats
  • Psychologically or mentally abusing the suspect for questions

Will a Judge Dismiss My Case if I Was Questioned Without Miranda Warnings?

Many people mistakenly believe that a case will be thrown out of court if the police fail to give Miranda warnings to the accused person. Miranda warnings are only necessary if the police interrogate an in-custody suspect and use any of their responses as evidence. If the police fail to give you a Miranda warning, nothing you say in response to questioning can be used as evidence at trial to convict you.

The “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine requires that courts suppress illegally obtained evidence. However, the doctrine doesn’t apply to Miranda in the same way it does to the Fourth Amendment. Physical evidence like drugs or weapons that police learn about because of a statement following a missing Miranda warning may be admissible in court.

What’s the Best Way to Assert My Right to Remain Silent?

If you are under arrest and being questioned by police, you may choose to remain silent until you have a chance to speak with an attorney. You must communicate this desire to your interrogator. If you stay silent and say nothing, the police can legally question you. If the police continue questioning you, you might eventually say something you regret. You have to say something to assert your right to remain silent. You don’t have to use a precise set of words to invoke your Miranda rights.

After an officer reads you your MirandaMIranda rights, you can stop the questioning by saying:

  • I don’t want to talk to you. I want to speak to an attorney
  • I refuse to speak to you
  • I invoke my privilege against self-incrimination
  • I assert my Miranda rights

Generally, if the police continue to question you after you have asserted your right to remain silent, they have violated Miranda. As a result, anything you say after that point will not be admissible as evidence of guilt during your trial.

Information that you voluntarily disclose to a police officer after being properly warned may be admissible at trial. Police officers are not allowed to use physical force or psychological manipulation to get you to talk to them. Your admission must be voluntary. If police obtain information illegally, the information cannot be used by a prosecutor at trial. The fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine makes any evidence that the police obtain from a coerced statement equally inadmissible.

It’s common for defendants to claim that police officers coerced them into talking. It’s also common for police officers to say that defendants talked voluntarily. If police use physical coercion to get a defendant talking, the defendant can support their coercion claim with photos of cuts or bruises. Defendants usually cannot offer independent evidence to support a claim of psychological coercion.

Can Silence in Pre-Custody Interviews be Used Against Me?

Under certain circumstances, your silence during police questioning may be used against you at trial. When police question you before placing you under arrest and before reading your Miranda rights, your silence in response to some questions might be admissible at trial.

When Do Police Need a Warrant to Make An Arrest?

Generally, as long as police have good reason to believe a crime has been committed and that the person they want to arrest committed the crime, they can make an arrest without a warrant. Police must have probable cause to arrest someone at their home without asking a judge for a warrant.

Do I Need a Lawyer If My Rights Were Violated?

Suppose you feel the police violated your rights, and you want to file a lawsuit to collect money for your injuries. In that case, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights and the complicated legal system. Find the right lawyer for your needs today by using LegalMatch. There is no fee for a consultation, and our services are always confidential.


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