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When Does the Miranda Warning Apply?

Feb. 11, 2020

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.

These four iconic statements are well known to most people. However, not everyone knows there are particular circumstances in which they apply. If you are facing accusations or an arrest, it is critical to know your rights and when they are valid.

Police Must Be Questioning You

The Miranda rights do not apply if police or a legitimate law enforcement authority is not the person questioning you. Security guards and other privately employed enforcement officers do not have to read you your rights before questioning you. You can still choose to stay silent, of course. But you cannot claim that the questioning is invalid simply because the person did not read you your rights.

You Must Be Under Custodial Arrest

If an officer handcuffs you, takes you to jail, puts you in a police vehicle or holds you in a police facility, you are under “custodial” arrest. The Cornell Law School defines custodial interrogation as questioning while detained. However, police can question you without reading you your rights before placing you under arrest. Police are not required to give you the Miranda warning before they can ask you potentially incriminating questions.

Questions Must Be Interrogative

Miranda rights do not apply to basic booking questions like your name and address. Officers must ask questions in a way that provokes or prompts an incriminating response.