Thanks to various police procedural TV shows and movies, most people are at least generally familiar with their Miranda rights. This list of rights includes the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, knowledge of the fact that any statements made could be used against a defendant in court, among others. What you may not be as familiar with, though, are the exact circumstances under which Minnesota police officers are required to read someone their Miranda rights.
The 1966 Supreme Court case that originally established Miranda rights, Miranda v. Arizona, also clarified that police officers are required to read a suspect their Miranda rights prior to interrogating that suspect while they are in police custody. Unfortunately, determining what constitutes custody of someone suspected of a crime and what circumstances qualify as interrogation can be complicated.
While minimal changes in the exact phrasing are allowed, the traditional Miranda warning must be read more or less in its entirely to any person who meets two specific criteria: they are in police custody, and they are about to undergo interrogation by police. Only one of these factors being present is not sufficient to make a Miranda warning a requirement under current United States court precedent. This means that police officers are technically not required to read a person their rights immediately after they are arrested, but must before they start formally questioning them.
Custody can be broadly defined as any situation in which a person’s freedom of action is restricted in a significant way, but that definition is open to a lot of interpretation. Courts in Minnesota have clarified this to some extent by establishing six basic factors that could impact whether a reasonable person would assume they are in “custody” of the police:
However, these factors do not cover every scenario that might occur in the context of criminal prosecution, and a skilled attorney could analyze the specific circumstances of a person’s arrest to determine if they were officially in custody.
The second element to mandate the recitation of Miranda rights by Minnesota police officers is an interrogation that involves “express questioning,” meaning any action taken or words spoken by a police officer that a reasonable person would consider an attempt to solicit an incriminating statement. As with custody, the circumstances that constitute interrogation can be somewhat subjective. For example, a police officer may try to take advantage of an unsuspecting individual by asking them leading questions while they have been pulled over or while they are in transit to a police station, but before formal “questioning” has begun.
Anyone in Minnesota who suspects their Miranda rights have been violated should get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. If a police officer acted improperly when arresting or questioning you, skilled legal counsel may be able to ensure that any statements you made before you were read your rights are rendered inadmissible in court. Call one of our attorneys today to set up a confidential consultation.