Being arrested is an awful process! It’s scary and frustrating, and you often feel helpless. Being put in the back of a police car, stripped and searched, photographed and fingerprinted and made to wear that humiliating orange jumpsuit, all adds up to a wretched experience that no one enjoys or wants to repeat. However, for those of you who haven’t been arrested before, or have only been arrested once, there can be some confusion about what your rights are when you get taken into custody by police officers here in Michigan. So let’s break it down.
The police must read you your Miranda rights
This part can be really confusing, because you see officers arresting people on TV and they seem to have their rights read to them as the cuffs are being slapped on. And yet in real life, it doesn’t always happen that way. Why? Because two things need to be in play before an officer is going to read you your rights:
- You have to have been taken into custody, and
- The cops are going to question you.
So if you haven’t been formally taken into custody, and the cops are just talking to you, they DON’T have to read you your rights. And if they’ve arrested you and are in the process of transporting you back to the jail and you keep blabbing information at them from the back of the car without them asking for it, they DON’T have to read you your rights. (This is why it’s so important to stay quiet until your attorney gets there! Lawyer up and shut up.)
What does “taken into custody” really mean? Well, that topic is one that is subject to interpretation, for sure. Michigan courts usually rule that it means that a reasonable person, under similar circumstances, wouldn’t feel free to end the police encounter. Well, how can you figure that out? One simple way is to ask the police officer. “Am I free to terminate this encounter?” or “Can I leave now?” Both of those questions are good indicators of whether or not you are in custody. If so, you’re at the first prong of the Miranda requirement.
You don’t have to answer the police during an interrogation
The Fifth Amendment rights allows a person in custody to stay silent, because almost anything you say can be used in court as evidence against you. This means every passing comment you make or joke you attempt to crack, every exchange you share with loved ones while in the presence of a police officer (or on the jail phone which is recorded) and even your non-verbal reactions will be recorded and used by police to bolster their case. So if you know what’s good for you, DON’T SAY ANYTHING to the police.
What is interrogation? That’s also subject to interpretation in courts all over Michigan. A judge in Lansing might have one opinion of a particular scenario, while a different judge in Roscommon County thinks something different. Our best advice is to shut up and lawyer up, regardless of where in Michigan you are.
An attorney is the best person to help you understand your rights
If you’ve been arrested in Michigan and accused of a crime, the best person to help you, and make sure that your right haven’t been violated, is a top criminal defense attorney. But not just any defense attorney. You need to be sure that the attorney you hire has lots of experience, is highly rated, is well reviewed, has access to expert witnesses, with a long history of success, and good listening skills. Which means you need the attorneys at The Kronzek Firm. We can help you now.
Our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys have spent decades successfully representing the people of Michigan against all kinds of criminal charges. (Need proof? Just check out our reviews!) So if you or a loved one have been arrested, call us immediately at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail). We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays, to protect your rights and defend your future!