People often mistakenly believe when a police officer questions you, he must first give you your Miranda rights. If the above statement is what you believed, you can blame TV. TV shows often teach bad law.
Let’s start with your Miranda rights. What are they? 1. You have the right to remain silent. 2. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. 3. You have the right to have an attorney present during any interrogatory questioning. 4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you free of charge.
When do your Miranda rights start? After you have been arrested and before the police interrogate you. You can usually figure out when you have been arrested. But, do you know if you are being interrogated? The courts have defined interrogation as any questions, actions, or conduct that would likely produce an incriminating response. Questions are not interrogatory when police ask for things like name, height, weight, date of birth, address, etc. Also, chemical tests like blood tests, breath tests, and drug tests are considered non-testimonal and do not trigger Miranda.
What is the motivation for police to give you your Miranda warnings? If they arrest you and ask you questions that would likely produce an incriminating response and fail to give Miranda warnings, then any statement they would want to use would be inadmissible in court.
An easy way to remember when police have to give you your Miranda rights: arrest + interrogation = Miranda. So, when police are asking questions before an arrest Miranda rights do not have to be given.
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