People come into contact with police officers in many different types of situations and not all questioning triggers the requirement to be advised of your Miranda rights. Officers are required to give you the standard advisement when they engage in a “custodial interrogation” (meaning when they ask you incriminating questions after they arrest you).
So you first need to be arrested and then the police need to ask you incriminating questions. If either of those two things do not occur, it is not a violation of Miranda.
Let’s take a look at some common police interactions that illustrate this point. During a traffic stop the police officer approaches the vehicle and says “I smell marijuana in the car. do you have drugs in there?” Is this an incriminating question? Absolutely, a yes response will definitely be used against you.
Are you under arrest when he asked the question? Well, you have been pulled over, if you attempt to leave he will probably stop you but, you have not been placed in handcuffs or transported to the police station. Though this interaction does not seem consensual when you are going through it, the court is likely to find it non-custodial so Miranda rights are not triggered.
What if the police call you and say they want you to come down to the station and speak to a detective about a case? Arguably, the police station setting could be considered custodial. However, if they do not suspect you of any involvement then the questions they are asking may not be considered incriminating to you. If your answers reveal your own involvement in the crime, they could use them against you
As you can see, Miranda rights are not a complete protection, and a violation of Miranda does not get the case automatically dismissed. If the officers violate the law your statements may be thrown out of court and any evidence they gathered based on your statements could be thrown out too, but the Commonwealth can still proceed with the case.
Because Miranda does not always apply and because the penalties do not completely protect you, it is important to consult an attorney before making any statement s to the police. You may unknowingly implicate yourself and cause your situation to become much worse. Often clients will say that they felt like they should answer the questions to avoid being arrested or suspected.
Believe me, if the police are asking you those types of questions they already suspect you, do not give them any more evidence to gain probable cause to arrest you or use against you in court.
The lawyers at Suhre and Associates are available 24 hours a day to Northern Kentucky Residents to discuss your situation with you. Call us at 513-333-0014 and speak to someone who is looking out for you best interests before you say anything to the police.