New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Discusses Understanding Your Miranda Rights
Do police have a duty to inform people of their Miranda rights?
The police are going to ask questions in which a person can incriminate themselves. How much did you drink? What is your last drink? If it is things like that, then yes the police are subject to Miranda. As an experienced New Jersey Criminal Lawyer I advise clients that the police must read you your Miranda rights and they must do it by the law. They can’t just make it up.
As a New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, I’ve actually seen cases where the police read Miranda from the top of their heads and they didn’t know exactly what they said. Well, that is not permitted. What if they left out the fifth warning? You have a right to an attorney. What if they didn’t tell you that?
A lot of times, there are forms police fill out, including a Miranda form. Sometimes those forms are dated and timed, and sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are even signed by the client. These are critical documents that need to be requested and reviewed by the attorney with the client; in each and every case where a statement might hurt a client in court.
Can people invoke their Miranda rights anytime?
What I see more often as a New Jersey Criminal Lawyer is people giving up their Miranda rights. They tell police officers things that will incriminate them, despite the fact they have the right to remain silent. The very first of the rights is that you have the right to remain silent. For some reason, I think human nature, people give up that right and tell the police things that are going to hurt them. The police will ordinarily just get into a conversation and ask questions. It’s usually not as formal as, “I am going ask you some questions now.” There is another scenario I’ve seen that I’d like to discuss briefly. Once in a while, the police go to someone’s home because they get a report of maybe loud noise or loud music. The police knock on the door and enter the home.
Usually it is a party where people who are underage are drinking and maybe smoking marijuana. The police are trying to sort it out but this is a very complicated constitutional analysis. I already told you the police entered the home. That may or may not be constitutional. However, that is one of the inquiries you have to start with.
In the home, the police see maybe some drug paraphernalia, or maybe a pipe. Maybe they see some marijuana laying around and they start asking people questions. This can be an issue for the person the police are asking questions of, depending on what they say of course. The person says, “Well, I have nothing to do with it. It is not mine.” As a New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, I don’t think that statement is going to be a problem for that person. Now suppose a person is standing a foot away from the marijuana. That person says, “It’s all mine. In fact, all these drugs are mine.” The questions then become: Did the police simply do an inquiry? Was this person in custody? Did the police warn them that they have Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent? A very serious analysis has to be done, based on each case you get the privilege of analyzing.
What if the police just come to your door and ask you questions? Is that protected by Miranda?
It all depends on the circumstances. If they are inquiring like I said in the earlier scenario about loud music, in my experience police officers are usually not very pleased or satisfied with simply standing at the door. One of the first things they want to do is enter the home. They want to neutralize any threat that might be behind the door; that they cannot see. While that might be good for them, it might not be constitutionally permitted. A lot of people simply agree because the police ask, “May we come in?” They allow entry even if they don’t want the police to come in. Then, all of a sudden, the police can see everything that is behind that door.
If you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime in New Jersey and think your Miranda rights may have been violated, contact experienced New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Carl Spector for a free confidential consultation.