New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Explains Your Miranda Rights
New Jersey law actually doesn’t require police officers to read the Miranda rights at the time of arrest, however Miranda rights must be read once someone is taken into custody and the police want to interrogate them about the crime. As an experienced New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, I advise all my clients to never discuss an alleged crime until you have legal counsel at your side. The courts have determined that the police are allowed to use certain techniques while interviewing suspects. These tactics can be used to play on your emotions during stressful situations and can lead to you make incriminating statements. Invoking your Miranda Rights can stop these interrogations in their tracks.
These are your Miranda Rights in New Jersey:
- You have the right to remain silent;
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law;
- You have a right to an attorney;
- If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for you.
How do you know when you should stop answering questions?
My advice as an experienced New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, is stop answering questions that tend to incriminate you, at any point. If the police officer asks you something that would hurt you by answering, there is no reason why you necessarily have to answer. That is different from Miranda though.
The real definition of an arrest though is whether you are in custody and not free to leave; what you were mentioning just a moment ago. At the initial car stop when someone is pulled over, let’s say for a traffic ticket, there is a nuance there.
There is a nuance between being stopped and not really free to leave; but not really under arrest. This is because the law permits for a reasonable inquiry by the police, under reasonable circumstances.
They can certainly even ask where you have been or if you had anything to drink. I tell clients as an experienced New Jersey Criminal Lawyer that you are not really free to leave, but you are not really under arrest. Some analysis has to be done regarding what is asked, what type of stop it really is and what they are fishing for.
It is really up to an attorney who has a lot of experience to first analyze the issues regarding Miranda. What I like to do in every case is figure out a timeline. I figure out exactly how long things take. It is very relevant with a car stop; especially when there is some type of interrogation going on.
A lot of times, the facts are really not in dispute. In other words, the person who is the client and the police are not disputing. They are not fighting over the facts. The question really is a legal question.
A judge has to decide what I can bring to the prosecutor to get some way of resolving the case, if there may have been a violation of Miranda. Then, there are many other issues that go along with that.
Let’s say someone is pulled over in their car. The police officer asks the driver for license and registration; and is clearly asking or clearly investigating whether the driver is intoxicated; whether this is a DWI.
Miranda does not really trigger from the very beginning. However, at some point the officer is asking the person still in their car, “Do you know where have you been? How much have you had to drink? When did you drink?”
The officer then asks or orders the person out of the car and they do field sobriety tests. The person is literally placed under arrest; handcuffed and placed in the police car. Now, clearly, there is no issue of custody thereafter.
Anything that happens thereafter- if they are questioned by police and in custody- we would agree would be what we call a custodial situation.
In many cases, what happens next is the police try to get a breath test from somebody, which is not subject to Miranda. In addition, the police will sit that person down and ask how much they drank, where they drank, how much they ate, where they ate and what time they last had a drink.
The police ask a whole series of questions to fill out their forms. However, it is very critical that if Miranda is not read to that person, as instructed by law, there could be a very serious issue as to whether or not that person waived their right and gave that information knowingly and lawfully. Sometimes the police do not do it accurately.
If you’ve been arrested in New Jersey and think your Miranda rights have been violated, contact experienced New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Carl Spector for a free confidential consultation.