When are Miranda Warnings Required?

A person accused of a criminal offense in California may challenge statements obtained by police by way of an evidentiary hearing to determine if any police witnesses or agents will claim that defendant made any statements or utterances following defendant’s detention and arrest in the above matter.  California Evidence Code section 402.  If the prosecution intends to offer statements of defendant, defendant seeks a hearing to determine if any of the purported statements were obtained in violation of his Fifth Amendment rights and the express mandate of Miranda v. Arizona.

  In  Miranda v. Arizona the U.S. Supreme court held that, in the context of “custodial interrogation,” certain procedural safeguards are necessary to protect a defendant’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment privilege against compulsory self-incrimination.  More specifically, the court held that “the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination.

  The court defined custodial interrogation as “questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.  It is clear that custody in the Miranda sense does not necessitate a formal arrest, nor does it require physical restraint in a police station, nor the application of handcuffs, and may occur in a suspect’s home a public place other than a police station. 

  The Supreme Court has defined interrogation as police conduct that reflects “a measure of compulsion above and beyond that inherent in custody itself.” Rhode Island v. Innis, supra, 446 U.S. at 300.  That court has held that interrogation may be police conduct that is the “functional equivalent” of express questioning, including “any words or actions on the part of the police (other than those normally attendant to arrest and custody) likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect.  The California Supreme Court has further held that interrogation includes any “process of inquiry that lends itself, even if not so designed, to eliciting damaging statements.

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV.
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