Differentiating Between Custodial And Noncustodial Interrogation

13 December 2017
 Categories: Law, Blog

The Miranda warning, which advises criminal suspects on their legal rights, is only applicable to those who are in custody. This means that the police don't have to read your Miranda rights if you are being questioned but you are not in custody. It also means you should know the difference between custodial interrogation (questioning under custody) and noncustodial interrogation. Here are some of the factors you can use to differentiate between the two:

The Number of Officers at the Scene

Police officers don't usually act alone if they want to detain a suspect. Therefore, the court is likely to rule that the interrogation wasn't custodial if there was only a single police officer at the scene. However, if there were multiple officers, and they were all interested in you, then the interrogation is likely to have been custodial.

The Type of People at the Scene

The court will also be interested in the type of people who were at the scene, specifically, whether they were also police officers, government officials or your personal friends and family members. If you were the only civilian in the place, then it's likely that you were under custody. However, if the police question you while you are with a group of friends at the park or with your family members at the mall, then your interrogation is likely to be noncustodial.

Whether Force Was Used Prior To the Questioning

The events leading up to your questioning will also determine whether you were in custody at the time of questioning or not. Specifically, you are likely to be in custody if the police use force to make you pay attention to them or to answer their questions. For example, if the police turn you to face the wall before starting to question you, then you are likely in custody.

The Time of the Day

If you are being questioned by the police in the middle of the night, then you are more likely to think you are in custody than if you are facing the same questions at midday. Therefore, the time of the day must be taken into consideration when determining whether a reasonable person would have believed they were in custody or not.

The Type of Questions Asked

 Lastly, the type of questions you were being asked will also help determine whether you were in custody. The police are not likely to put you in custody so that they can ask you general questions (what you are doing out late at night, for example). However, if the police are asking you specific questions (where you were at 10.00 am the previous day), then its highly likely that you are in custody.

Contact a law office like Madden Law Firm The for more information and assistance.