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Law enforcement officers subduing a man during an arrestMiranda Rights And Custodial Arrest

Since so many misconceptions abound, understanding the role of Miranda rights in a criminal case is vital. Your Miranda rights kick in when you find yourself under custodial arrest. In this context, the term custodial describes being in the presence of a police officer, unable to leave freely as you wish.

You can be under custodial arrest even in situations where you might not realize it, such as sitting in the driver’s seat of your car on the side of the road or being detained outside a restaurant. Regardless of the exact circumstances, if the police officer you are dealing with is not allowing you to leave, you are under custodial arrest.

Miranda rights become relevant precisely in these types of scenarios. Law enforcement is obligated to provide you with a Miranda warning when you are under custodial arrest. Typically, these warnings are given when handcuffs are applied, as this act makes it physically impossible for you to leave without the officer’s intervention. It’s at this point you’ll know for certain you’re under custodial arrest if there was any uncertainty before!

I tell people that Miranda rights are not only relevant once the handcuffs are put on but come into play even before that point. This underscores all the more the importance of promptly documenting all the details of your arrest.

When recounting the specifics of your arrest, one critical question I might pose is, “Do you recall what you were discussing with the officer before they handcuffed you? Should the officer have Mirandized you before he actually did?” These questions become significant in determining whether the officer should have administered Miranda warnings earlier in the interaction and how your case will take shape.

Common Mistakes To Avoid During The Arrest Phase

The most prevalent mistake people make when they are arrested is attempting to talk their way out of the situation. In criminal defense, there’s a saying: “You can beat the rap, but you probably can’t beat the ride.” The ride symbolizes the journey to the police station for processing and booking, while the rap represents the eventual conviction of a criminal offense. While it might be possible to contest the charges later on, it’s exceedingly challenging to avoid the initial arrest. Many people, in fact, find it impossible to escape the ride.

The more you talk to a police officer, the more you put yourself in danger. The officer is most likely trying to gather information so they can arrest you. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to speak as little as possible when interacting with an officer investigating you for a crime. Detecting whether an officer is being friendly or building a case against you can be challenging, as they often don’t explicitly state their intentions, so it is best to play it safe and mitigate your risk of talking your way into the back of their car.

If you are in this situation, politely express your wishes to not discuss how your day was, for example, stating, “If I’m free to go, I’d like to go.” If they affirm that you’re free to leave, then take that opportunity to get out of there. However, if they indicate that you’re not free to go, realize that you will likely be arrested. Immediately request your Miranda warning if you’ve not been given it at that point. It’s better to undergo the inevitable ride and the overall process without engaging in extensive conversations with the officer.

Contacting An Attorney

When you find yourself in custody, you’ll be given the opportunity to contact an attorney. Surprisingly, many individuals don’t seize this opportunity, more often than not, because they do not know a lawyer at that point. Instead, they call a spouse or family member to inform them they’ve been arrested, need help seeking assistance in securing a bail bondsman or lawyer, or simply to convey that they’ll be unavailable for a few days.

My advice in this situation is to do just that — prioritize calling your family and asking them to find an attorney on your behalf. From a practical standpoint, it’s often more effective for your family to find and engage an attorney for you than for you to attempt it while in custody. Your family can more easily locate a skilled attorney who seems trustworthy, and promptly involve them. This will be to your benefit.

While it’s also entirely acceptable to hire an attorney after your release, there are advantages to involving your family and an attorney early on. Delaying until after your release will likely result in forgetting details pertinent to your arrest and the remainder of your case. If your family engages an attorney on your behalf while you’re still in custody, the attorney can visit you and help preserve as many of these crucial details as possible during that initial meeting.

To put it simply, reach out to your family first and have them hire an attorney for you. Proactively taking this step ensures you inform your family of what is going on, promptly secure legal representation, and begin to build a robust defense while your recollection of events is as fresh and accessible as it will ever be.

For more information on the Role Of Miranda Rights In A Criminal Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (310) 879-5616 today.

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