The rights most people know are the rights established in 1966 by the Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona.Those rights include the right to remain silent and that anything the person says will be used against that person in court, the person must be clearly informed that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he or she is indigent an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent her or him.

The rights pursuant to Miranda require the police to tell a suspect the rights when the suspect is in custody or under arrestand the suspect is being interrogate or questioned.  Often times police arrest people and don’t tell them the rights pursuant toMiranda v. Arizona because they don’t plan on asking them any questions.  In domestic violence settings, police sidestep the Miranda rights by asking questions prior to taking anybody into custody.  In Driving Under the Influence settings, the officer asks questions during a traffic stop right before the decision to arrest is made so the officer doesn’t tell the suspect the rights.  Questions, like “Have you had anything to drink this evening?”  In other criminal settings the police on the scene often don’t do much investigation so they don’t ask questions.  The patrol officer on the scene let an investigator or detective assigned to the case follow up with any questions.

If you are asked to come to the police station to speak with police, the police often inform a person two things:  1) You are not in custody and 2) The rights pursuant to Miranda.  That covers all the basis when they take a statement.  The police may want to use a statement against you in Court so they want to establish that they advised you of your rights and that you were not in custody so you didn’t need to be advised of your rights.

The right to remain silent is a critical right afforded the accused.  The accused doesn’t have to testify against himself.  A jury cannot infer guilty because the accused has remained silent. Police will often try to get people to talk any way possible.  The use of  pretextual phone calls is often used where the police listen to a phone call made by a victim in a crime to a suspect trying to get the suspect to admit involvement in the crime.  This investigation method is often used in sex assault and crimes against children cases. The use of these phone calls is perfectly legal.

What if the police have me custody and they take a statement without informing me of my rights? In cases where the police violate the rules of Miranda, the criminal defense lawyer seeks to have any statements suppressed from being used against you at trial.  The issue of suppressing statements made by defendants is cornerstone to the defense in many cases.   The criminal defense lawyer files a motion to suppress statements and the Court holds a hearing where the officer testifies about the statement and how and where it was made.  The prosecutor and defense lawyer make arguments to the Judge and the Judge decides whether the statement can be used against the defendant by the prosecutor at trial.

You have specific rights and law enforcement uses many method to avoid informing you of your rights. If you are being investigated by police you should contact an attorney immediately.