Understanding What Custodial Questioning Really Is
When you watch a crime drama on television or even a thriller on your favorite movie streaming app, you see police officers arrest suspects, handcuff them and immediately read them their Miranda rights. This leads to the impression that this is a real world scenario. It also leads people to believe that their rights have been violated if police speak with them without reading their Miranda rights, or Miranda warning.
The truth is, there are many rules and procedures that dictate the Miranda warning and its use. Here is more information about the Miranda warning and its correct and appropriate use.
Custodial Interrogation or Questioning
When questioning is referred to as custodial interrogation, it means that the person has been taken into custody and is being questioned. This doesn’t necessarily equate to being placed in handcuffs. Instead, it means that the police are not permitting the person any freedom of action.
Interrogation, in itself, means questioning. It may mean asking a suspect direct questions or it may mean having a discussion with a suspect that may elicit incriminating information. Because there are different types of questioning and different occasions in which a person may actually be considered “in custody,” many people are unaware of exactly when they may be subject to Miranda rights.
Factors in Determining Custodial Interrogation
A court will take several considerations when trying to determine when questioning was custodial in nature. The things being considered may include who was conducting the questioning, how many officers were present, who else was present, how the discussion was initiated, whether or not the suspect was told the interview was voluntary, and where the questioning took place.
While taking all of these factors into consideration, a court will often use what is known as the “reasonable person standard.” That is, would a reasonable person in the same position have assumed that they were free to leave the situation when they wished?
In general, being placed under arrest does not mean that you have to be read your Miranda rights. Even being placed in the back of a police car in handcuffs doesn’t mean an officer has to give you the Miranda warning. It is only when you are under arrest, taken into custody, not free to leave on your own and questioned by the police that your Miranda rights should be read to you. If the police question you without reading you your rights, your lawyer may be able to get any evidence gained from that questioning thrown out of court.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Atlanta, we are here to help you. You need a strong defense team on your side to help ensure you achieve the best outcome possible. Reach out to our office today to speak with a member of our team. We will help you schedule a case evaluation at which time we will advise you of your legal options.