Despite what you see in television and the movies, law enforcement is not required to read you your Miranda rights everytime you are contacted. The following is more on when Miranda rights come into play and whether statements you voluntarily give to police can be used against you. To learn more call and schedule a consultation with a DC criminal lawyer today.
When law enforcement officers conduct an investigation they do not need to inform a person about their right to refuse to answer questions as long as the person being questioned is not in police custody. The police can engage in communications with private citizens, in a non-coercive manner, and ask them to voluntarily come to a police station to answer questions. For example, a police officer calls you and asks you to come to the police station to answer a couple of questions. They won’t specifically tell you that you have to answer their questions, but they may subtly suggest that coming in will be helpful. If you go to the police station and answers their questions, the interaction is considered voluntary.
Due to the fact that you’re not placed in custody, meaning you haven’t been arrested or coerced into answering questions, the police officers don’t need to read you a Miranda warning. They don’t need to inform you that you are not required to answer their questions or that your answers can be used as evidence against you. Police officers go to great lengths to try to get people to voluntarily answer questions so they don’t need to be informed about their rights.
The situation is different when a person is placed in custody, meaning, they are unable to end the interaction with the police. At this point, police officers must inform the person that he or she has the right to remain silent and their answers to police questioning can be used as evidence against them.
When someone gives voluntary statements to the authorities, or goes to the police station because the police officers asked them to, the police do not need to inform the person of their rights beforehand and can use those statements as evidence. In these situations, police officers may also tell a person that they simply want to hear their side of the story. They may say that if a person won’t tell them what happened, the authorities only have another person’s version of events. These are police tactics used to get a person to voluntarily waive their rights. The authorities want the person to voluntarily provide information so that they can use that information as evidence. By answering questions without asking to speak with a lawyer first, a person simply waives their rights, which can have severe consequences that can often not be undone later.
Police officers may be untruthful to a person and tell the person they are not being investigated. Or the police may say that they are investigating a crime they are not actually investigating. They may tell a person that they’re investigating a murder and they simply want to know where the person was at a certain point in time. Police officers are allowed to use these deceptive tactics to get a person to waive his or her rights and offer up evidence to them that they may not have been able to get otherwise.
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