Do Police Have to Read You Your Rights?
Police have an obligation to read you your Miranda warnings before conducting a custodial interrogation. An interrogation means that the questions are designed to elicit an incriminating response. Meaning, routine questions such as what your name is, your address, and your date of birth are not considered to be interrogative. However, arrests can occur without a reading of Miranda as long as no incriminating questions are being asked of you. But, if police choose to interrogate you at any time after arresting you, your rights must be read to you before any questioning occurs.
In addition to being interrogated, you also must be in police custody in order for the Miranda laws to apply. Custody means that your freedom of action must be deprived in some way. Maine courts have traditionally held that an interrogation is custodial if a reasonable person in your shoes would have felt that he or she was not at liberty to end the interrogation and leave. Being in custody may mean that you are in handcuffs, in a police cruiser, at the police station, or other similar scenarios where you are not free to leave at your own will. But ultimately, there are many factors that are considered by courts in determining whether you were truly in police custody, which is why consulting with an attorney can be important.
“Police Didn’t Read Me My Rights.”
There are limited circumstances in which your Miranda rights are not required to be read to you. First, was it a police officer who questioned you? Miranda warnings only apply to law enforcement officers. For example, if you were detained by a mall security guard, the security guard is not obligated to read you your rights before asking you any questions. It is more than likely when stopped for a suspected OUI, the officer who pulls you over will be a law enforcement officer.
Second, were you in custody during the interrogation? To be in custody, your freedom of movement or your freedom to leave voluntarily must be restrained. In other words, a stop on the street to conduct field sobriety tests is not considered custody until an actual arrest is made. Because a stop on the side of the road is not considered to be a custodial situation, answers you give relating to how much you have had to drink and when you were drinking that day can be used against you in a trial, even if no Miranda warning was given.
Finally, was the questioning actually an interrogation? An interrogation means that the questions are designed to elicit an incriminating response. Routine questions such as what your name is, your address, your date of birth are not considered to be interrogative and may be asked before Mirandizing you. Moreover, statements you give without being prompted or questioned by an officer may also be used against you because you were not actually being interrogated when you gave the statements.
If none of these exceptions apply, and you were truly in police custody and being interrogated by a police officer, your Miranda rights likely should have been read to you. However, Miranda warning laws are complex and involve numerous exceptions. You should consider speaking to an attorney to determine if your Miranda rights were violated.
When Does an Officer Have to Read Miranda Rights?
If you are in police custody, an officer must read you your rights before you are about to be questioned. Anything you say to an investigator or police officer before being taken into custody can be used in a court of law without your rights being read to you. And remember, you can invoke your Miranda rights even if you have previously waived them after being arrested or during an interrogation.
“My Rights Were Not Read to Me.”
If you believe your Miranda rights should have been read to you and they were not, you are probably wondering what happens now. It is a common misconception that your entire case is dismissed solely because your rights were not read to you. Instead, what typically happens is that the answers you gave to the questions while you were in custody are generally inadmissible later in court. Ultimately, the Miranda rule is complex and may be difficult to understand. Fortunately, we have the information to determine whether your rights have been violated.
Never drink and drive or give law enforcement a reason to stop you in your motor vehicle. BUT if you are accused by the police in Maine of OUI/DUI/DWI, “Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs”, possession of a controlled drug or any alleged motor vehicle or criminal offense, feel free to call the Webb Law Firm today at 207-283-6400 and arrange a free consultation to discuss your case. Please contact us today. We provide a free initial consultation to go over your case with you.