When is a Miranda warning required?

Sometimes, in drug crime cases, authorities use responses a suspect gave to questions police asked as evidence against the suspect in criminal proceedings.

There are certain things that can impact whether such evidence is in fact allowed to be used in criminal proceedings. If the suspect's responses were given during a custodial interrogation, one such thing is whether police gave the suspect a Miranda warning. A Miranda warning involves police informing a suspect of certain rights they have. Among this particular list of rights are the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer. Police are required to give individuals a Miranda warning prior to conducting custodial interrogations. If police conduct a custodial interrogation on a person without giving such a warning, the responses the person gave and other evidence deriving from those responses may be found to not be admissible as evidence against the person.

Now, you probably noticed that when we mentioned when a Miranda warning is required, we used the term custodial interrogation. An important thing to note is that not all police questionings trigger a Miranda Warning requirement; only ones that are a custodial interrogation do. A police questioning of a suspect is considered to be a custodial interrogation if the questions police asked constituted an interrogation and if the questions were asked while the suspect was within police custody.

Thus, when determining whether certain responses given to police questions may be able to be challenged as inadmissible, things that it can be important to look at include what exactly the questioning consisted of, what requirements were on the police given what the questioning consisted of and whether the police met these requirements. This illustrates how complex evidence admissibility issues can be in criminal cases, like drug possession cases and other drug offense cases.

Source: FindLaw, "Miranda Warnings and Police Questioning," Accessed March 11, 2015

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