New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Discusses if Miranda Rights Matter in Your Case
As an experienced New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, I get a lot of inquiries as to the use or what people think is the misuse of Miranda.
Essentially, most people’s first contact with the police is through a car stop, when they get pulled over in their vehicle by the police.
People say, “I got arrested for marijuana in my car;” or “I was walking down the street and I got arrested. I want my case thrown out because they never read me my Miranda rights.”
As a New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, I sit down with these people and discuss the process the police took to arrest them. I usually get to the point where I need to then explain to people why Miranda may or may not have been relevant to their particular case.
When does it apply? When is it supposed to be read? Are the police even obligated to read you Miranda rights?
If the police are not going to interrogate someone who is under arrest, they never have to read you your Miranda rights. Miranda actually protects the person under arrest from an unlawful interrogation, unlawful questioning. This is questioning done by the police while you are under arrest; while you are in their custody; after an interrogation; after you have been placed under arrest. If there is no interrogation, there is no violation of Miranda.
Do police question you before they arrest you? Are they allowed to?
This is a big area that has to be discussed. It is a case by case basis with each client. Ordinarily, that is exactly what happens. In a car stop when someone gets pulled over with DWI, or if they wind up having marijuana or other drugs in the car, there are some preliminary questions the police ask that are not subject to Miranda. I advise clients as an experienced New Jersey Criminal Lawyer that the case is not going to be thrown out because the police are just doing an investigation at that point. You are not under arrest.
There is a certain amount of analysis that has to be done by the attorney, based on what the client tells them occurred on the street. Determine if the person was in custody and if all these questions really are the basis of an interrogation. Perhaps it is unlawful interrogation after being placed under arrest.
Should I answer the police officers questions?
As a New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, I think there is a certain amount of cooperation that police officers, and society as a whole, expect from people. If a police officer pulls you over and asks you for your license and registration, you provide it to them. You are not engaging in a conversation. That is the first thing.
Then, they start asking you questions such as: Where have you been? Where do you come from? Who are you with? Where are you going? Things like that are not necessarily subject to Miranda because the law has not deemed you to be placed under arrest yet.
You do not have to be in handcuffs to be under arrest. There is a definition of an arrest; which is different from being shackled with handcuffs.
If you’ve been arrested in New Jersey and think your Miranda rights may have been violated, contact experienced New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Carl Spector for a free consultation.