question.jpgIn Criminal Law

Police asked me questions before I was arrested. Are my answers admissible?

In general, they are. If you are not in police custody, there is no need to provide Miranda warnings. However, an arrest isn’t necessary for Miranda warnings to trigger. If you are not free to leave, then you are in police custody -and Miranda is required. If police ask you questions without arresting you and you are technically free to leave, then Miranda is not required and your answers can be used against you.

Sometimes, however, the question of “custody” is a difficult one to ascertain; in many instances, it will be up to a judge to ultimately decide whether you were in custody, and if so, whether Miranda was violated. Keep in mind, however, that police officers will generally hold off giving Miranda warnings as long as possible, because they feel that confessions are more easily elicited before Miranda is given; in those cases, a police officer will argue that you were free to leave, and therefore not in police custody. A good rule of thumb in situations like this is simply to ask a police officer if you are free to leave; if not, then Miranda is probably required.