When is a police officer required to advise a suspect of the Miranda warnings? Well, I’ll give you a hint, it’s not like we see on television. Surprised?
Television shows officers spouting off Miranda warnings the second they have someone in cuffs. Not so. I’ve been in plenty of situations where I chased a suspect, caught him, he resisted, and then we wound up on the ground fighting like street thugs while I struggled to apply handcuffs to his wrists. I can promise you I had a few words to say after I pulled the scuz to his feet, but Miranda wasn’t one of them. Too many letters. At that point, I could only think of words of the four letter variety.
Two elements must be in place for the Miranda warning requirement to apply. The suspect must be in custody and he must be undergoing interrogation.
A suspect is in police custody if he’s under formal arrest or if his freedom has been restrained or denied to the extent that he feels as if he’s no longer free to leave.
This fellow is not free to leave.
Interrogation is not only asking questions, but any actions, words, or gestures used by an officer to elicit an incriminating response can be considered as an interrogation.
If these two elements are in place officers must advise a suspect of the Miranda warnings prior to questioning. If not, statements made by the suspect may not be used in court. Doesn’t mean the arrest isn’t good, just that his statements aren’t admissible.
Officers do not have to advise anyone of their rights if they’re not going to ask questions. Defendants are convicted all the time without ever hearing that sing-songy police officer’s poem, You have the right to…
Officers should repeat the Miranda warnings during each period of questioning. For example, during questioning officers decide to take a break for the night. They come back the next day to try again. They must advise the suspect of his rights again before resuming the questioning.
If an officer takes over questioning for another officer, she should repeat the warnings before asking her questions.
If a suspect asks for an attorney, officers may not ask any questions.
If a suspect agrees to answer questions, but decides to stop during the session and asks for an attorney, officers must stop the questioning.
Suspects who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs should not be questioned. Also, anyone who exhibits signs of withdrawl symptoms should not be questioned.
Officers should not question people who are seriously injured or ill.
People who are extremely upset or hysterical should not be questioned.
Officers may not threaten or make promises to elicit a confession.
Many officers carry a pre-printed Miranda warning card in their wallets. A National Sheriff’s Association membership card (same design and feel of a credit card) has the warnings printed on the reverse side.
Fact: The Miranda warning requirement stemmed from a case involving a man named Ernesto Miranda. Miranda killed a young woman in Arizona and was arrested for the crime. During questioning Miranda confessed to the slaying, but the police had failed to tell him he had the right to silence and that he could have an attorney present during the questioning. Miranda’s confession was ruled inadmissible; however, the court convicted him based on other evidence.
Miranda was released from prison after he served his sentence. Not long after his release he was killed during a bar fight.
His killer was advised of his rights according to the precedent setting case of Miranda v. Arizona. He chose to remain silent.