Legal Law

Criminal defendants on trial: Police request voluntary statement

It’s 4:00 am and you’re fast asleep. Loud knocking on your front door makes you try to wake up quickly. Go see who’s there. Two very serious-looking men, dressed in shirts and ties, show their badges to the peephole in the door. They are the police. Adrenaline rushes through your circulatory system, but you open the door and ask them what’s going on. They say that they are investigating a crime in the neighborhood and ask you to go to the police station to tell them what you may know about the crime.

You think, “Aren’t they supposed to read me my rights? I’ve seen it dozens of times on TV.” You do not know what to do. You don’t want to be rude. They are the authorities. You guess that you must comply with his request. So you ask if you can get dressed first. Then, hoping to make it easy for you, you waive your rights and do what they tell you to do.

The first thing to understand is that the law does not always require the police to give you your rights when they want you to talk to them. In Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), the US Supreme Court decided the landmark case of when and under what circumstances the US Constitution requires police to inform a suspect about the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a lawyer before answering questions from the police.

The police are not always required to read you your rights under the miranda decision. When the police arrive at a crime scene and make an arrest but do not want to talk to the person, they will not read you your rights. If the police stop you on the street and start questioning you and you volunteer to respond, this is called a consensual encounter. They don’t need to read your miranda rights. If they ask you to voluntarily go to the station and talk to them, even if it’s recorded, they don’t need to give you your rights first under miranda.

Does it sound strange to you? Well here’s the two minute summary miranda. Basically, the miranda The decision requires that whenever there is a custodial questioning, police must first inform the person of their 5th amendment rights to silence and counsel. If they fail to read and obtain a valid waiver of those rights, the statement will be struck down by the trial court. That statement or confession will not be admitted as evidence at trial.

  • Is the person in custody?

First, the court will determine if you were in custody. That depends on a number of factors. Did the police tell you that she is under arrest? Were you handcuffed and placed in the police vehicle? Were you free to go or leave? If you were taken to the station, did you drive there freely and voluntarily? If she was speaking voluntarily, was she free to get up and leave at any time? Did the police questions focus on you as their only suspect? The answers to these and similar questions may be used to determine if you were taken into custody for the purpose of miranda. However, a suspect could clearly be in custody, but the police are not attempting to question him when he speaks and begins to confess to the crime. This is the next query under miranda.

  • Is the person being questioned?

Second, the court must determine whether he was being questioned by the police. The word “interrogate” simply means “to question.” Do the police ask the suspect questions while he is in custody? Of course, personal background issues. [i.e. name, address, date of birth, etc.] can be asked and answered without the need for miranda warnings But any questions that relate to the facts or details of the crime and the circumstances surrounding it cannot be asked or answered until the police advise you of your constitutional rights.

Now, with this basic manual in mind, let’s take a look again at the central theme of this article: “Come to the police station and talk to us.” how can you say no miranda warnings are required. The police are asking you to come voluntarily. You might say, “No. I’m not going on or leaving my property.” You could go inside and go back to bed. However, if you decide to go with them voluntarily, anything you say will be used as the basis to charge you with a crime and arrest you on the spot.

Look at it this way, you’re not in custody. He has not been charged with any crime. The police have no probable cause to arrest him. They’re looking for something to hang their hat on to arrest you. They expect you to come to their station where they are in control and will make you talk. If the government has the entire burden of proving a case against you beyond a reasonable doubt, then it must do so with evidence. [real evidence and testimony] other than his own words alone. If she chooses to speak, she does so at her own risk. You have constitutional rights. You must affirm them or lose them.

  • Remember this: Never, ever talk to the police without a lawyer!

So when they come calling you and try to shake you, just say, “No thanks!” Don’t go with them. Do not agree to leave your home and go to the police unless and until you are arrested. Always demand a lawyer. Be loud and clear. Keep demanding to speak to a lawyer until you get one. Never give a voluntary statement to the police without requiring that your lawyer be present first.