We have all seen enough television and movies to know that when someone is arrested the police have to say,
"You are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed for you."
A common misconception is that if the officer forgot to read this statement, or something similar, all the charges will be dropped. This has been an unfortunate result of tv shows like Law and Order. However, officers are not required to advise suspects of these warnings just because they have stopped you in your car for suspicion of DWI or have you aske you to come to the police station to answer some questions.
An officer is required to provide Miranda warnings prior to engaging in custodial interrogation. The name Miranda warnings comes from the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Miranda v. Arizona. In that case, the Supreme Court held that being questioned while in police custody is inherently coercive and that a defendant must be provided with warnings in order to secure the privilege against self-incrimination. It is really a two-part test to determine if an officer should have ready you your Miranda rights, first question is, were you in custody, and the second, did they interrogate you?
Minnesota court decisions have helped to define when someone is deemed to be in custody. It is not necessary that someone be under arrest and sitting in a police interrogation room in order to be in custody. Courts examine all relevant factors when determining whether someone was in custody. For example, the number of officers present, the ability of the defendant to leave, and the presence of physical restraints. The intentions of the officers do not determine whether someone is in custody. Courts consider whether a reasonable person in that situation would have felt that they were in custody.
Courts have also helped to define what interrogation is. Much like custody, a suspect is not required to be placed under arrest and brought to a police interrogation room in order to be interrogated. Interrogation has been defined as express questioning or its functional equivalent that police know or reasonably should know is likely to elicit an incriminating response. Put another way, interrogation is police questions or statements that are designed to elicit an incriminating response.
When combining the definitions of custody and interrogation, we can define custodial interrogation as a situation where a suspect perceives that they are not free to leave and police are inviting that suspect to make incriminating statements. If the police violate your rights, an experienced criminal defense lawyer, can argue to suppress your statements and possibly any evidence obtained as a result of the Miranda violation.
Looking back to Miranda warnings, it should become clear that simply placing someone under arrest does not necessitate a reading of your rights. However, only experienced criminal defense attorneys can determine whether police have acted properly or violated your rights. If you have been charged with a crime in Minnesota or police wish to question you, do not attempt to handle it on your own. Police are professionals who have been trained in interrogation. Call the attorneys of Olson Defense to ensure that you have a trained professional fighting for you. The lawyers at Olson Defense, can be reached 24-7 at 952-835-1088.
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