Defending Your Rights. Protecting Your Future.

When are police required to Mirandize a person?

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2023 | Felony and Federal Crimes

If you watch a lot of police procedural shows, you’re used to seeing officers recite the “Miranda warning” as they’re putting the cuffs on a suspect. In reality, it’s not a requirement for people to be “Mirandized” at that point. 

Many officers do it then to ensure that people are aware of their rights as early as possible – and to be sure that this crucial step is taken. However, sometimes the circumstances of an arrest may not lend themselves to a recitation of these rights. A suspect may be combative or may be seriously impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, for example. 

Custodial interrogation 

So, at what point are officers required to inform people of their Miranda rights? The Miranda warning is required before any “custodial interrogation” takes place. That’s when someone in police custody is subject to questioning by authorities. 

What isn’t custodial interrogation?

Say police stop you because they suspect that you are driving under the influence or have committed another crime. They can ask you some questions, like where you’re coming from, where you’re going and if you’ve taken any drugs. 

Beyond identifying yourself and providing requested documentation like license, registration and proof of insurance if you’re in your vehicle, you don’t have to give them any information. They also don’t have to Mirandize you because you aren’t in custody. 

Even if they handcuff you and take you away in a police car, they probably don’t have to Mirandize you yet if you’re not being interrogated. Once you’re at a police station, if detectives or officers sit down with you and ask you questions, they have to Mirandize you before this custodial interrogation takes place.

Asserting your rights 

You aren’t required to submit to an interrogation. You can and should firmly but respectfully invoke your right to get legal counsel as soon as possible. You can do that even if you’ve already answered some questions. However, once you invoke that right, if you pick and choose what questions to answer, you’ve waived that right.

 If you’re subjected to interrogation without receiving the Miranda warning, nothing you say that’s incriminating can be used against you. That’s why it’s crucial, once you have legal guidance, to review the details of your arrest to ensure that your rights weren’t violated.