We are often asked, “When do the police have to read me my Miranda rights?” The answer is the police must read you your Miranda rights if you are deemed to be “in custody” and the police wish to ask you questions. If a suspect is not in “custody,” no Miranda rules apply.
However, the far more difficult question is, “When is a person legally considered ‘in custody’?”
To determine whether a suspect was in custody, courts consider several factors. First, was there a formal arrest? Second, would a reasonable person have felt he or she was not free to end the questioning and walk away? Third, was the suspect’s movement restrained or curtailed to the degree associated with a formal arrest? (Thompson v. Keohane, 516 U.S. 99 1995).
The determination of whether a suspect was in custody is very fact sensitive. The determination is measured objectively by looking at the above factors. It is important to understand that neither the officer’s nor the suspect’s subjective belief about custody status figure very significantly in the analysis. It will be your attorney who will need to apply the law to the facts in your case to make sure your constitutional rights are protected.
It is essential to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney when facing criminal allegations. An attorney will ensure your constitutional rights are protected. If you or someone you love is being investigated or facing criminal charges in California, contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today at 1-888-280-6839 or www.wklaw.com for a consultation of your case. We can help you.
Check back tomorrow for more information on what constitutes custody for the purposes of Miranda.