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When are Miranda Warnings Required?

Our clients routinely tell our criminal defense attorneys that their “rights” were not read to them after being arrested and many are surprised when they are told that the warnings were not required because the officer did not ask them any questions. This article should help clarify the confusion.

There are two basic requirements when Miranda Warnings are required before an interrogation by law enforcement starts. The first is the citizen must be under arrest or in a situation where a reasonable person placed in the same position, based on the totality of the circumstances, would believe that his or her freedom was curtailed to the degree associated with an actual arrest. The second requirement is the officer must ask questions that would likely elicit an incriminating response.

What is considered under arrest or in custody? Under arrest is easy to explain. If you are in handcuffs you are considered under arrest and Miranda warnings are required before any questioning. Being in custody to the point you feel your freedom is curtailed to the degree associated with actual arrest is much more difficult to define and subject to more analysis. The Florida Supreme Court has instructed the courts to consider at least four factors when determining if a person is in custody for the purpose of Miranda applying. The four factors are (1) the manner in which the police summon the suspect for questioning; (2) the purpose, place, and manner of the interrogation; (3) the extent to which the suspect is confronted with evidence of his guilt; and (4) whether the suspect is informed that he or she is free to leave.

The criminal trial attorneys at the Madonna Law Group represent clients charged with criminal offenses where the State Attorney’s Office intends to use evidence of the defendant’s incriminating statements made to a law enforcement officer. Do not assume that these statements are admissible at trial. Our criminal defense lawyers will analyze the circumstances of the statement and consider all relevant factors when determining whether the statements should be admissible at trial. Call (352) 567-0411 for a free initial consultation on all criminal cases.

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