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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27770
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Are Miranda rights required before police interrogate you outside

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Are Miranda rights required before police interrogate you outside of custody?
Hello Jacustomer,

Miranda warnings are for post-arrest interrogation. However, sometimes interrogation goes on earlier and Miranda rights can be violated. The key is whether the defendant reasonably could feel he was not free to leave. If he believed so and there are grounds supporting that, the lack of Miranda warnings could be successfully challenged at a hearing.

But just for the record, Miranda warnings, though important, are not so critical that the lack of them causes a case to be dismissed. All Miranda stands for is that the police cannot require you to be interrogated once you are arrested. If Miranda has been violated, any statements or confessions made during the interrogation could not be used at trial. That doesn't usually lead to a dismissal of charges.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

What if the police come over to your house and you confess? There's no place for you to leave to.

Hi Jacustomer,

Like the Supreme Court has held, there are really no hard and fast rules as to when the police have overstepped their authority. The answer has to be determined on a case by case basis at pre-trial suppression hearings.

At such a hearing, you can expect the police to say that Miranda didn't apply because you voluntarily let them into your house and that you weren't in custody. But custody is relative. So it's all going to depend upon the facts and circumstances and whether because of them you had a reasonable belief that you were in custody. Your lawyer will attempt to show that you were when he cross examines the officer at the hearing, by attemptiing to bring out those details that would lead you to that conclusion.

I can't give you a definite answer, as it is going to depend upon how the evidence will all play out on the stand, and I have no idea what the police officer will say, except broadly. But once your case starts, your lawyer will be able to talk to you, to look at the court papers and discovery and to confer with the prosecutor and can give you an idea of whether you have a strong or a weak suppression issue. Certainly, however, even in your own home, you could be made to feel like a prisoner.
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