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The following article will cover:

  • How your Miranda rights come into play in police encounters on the street, on the road, or at your residence.
  • Why you should assert your right to remain silent – even if you’re not being arrested.
  • The best course of action to take during a police encounter.

What You Need To Know About Your Miranda Rights

How And When Do Miranda Rights Come Into Play When Interacting With Police On The Street?

If you are approached by law enforcement while you're on the street or in your vehicle, it’s important to identify yourself. Beyond that, you have the ability to simply walk away or remain silent.

Of course, you shouldn’t leave a law enforcement interaction without saying anything. After you have identified yourself to law enforcement, you can ask whether or not you are free to leave. If the answer is yes, simply walk or drive away. If an officer says that you are not allowed to leave, this is the point at which Miranda rights come into play.

Most people don’t understand that Miranda rights are actually in effect whether or not they have been arrested. The truth is, you can exercise these rights at any point – and you should, especially if an officer tells you that you are not free to leave.

In these cases, it’s common for law enforcement officials to say something along the lines of, “You are not under arrest, we’re just performing an investigation.” If this happens, you still have the right to remain silent.

What’s more, it’s helpful to stay calm and be polite. This is particularly important in today’s age of body-worn cameras. Because the interaction is likely being videotaped, there’s a good chance that it will be seen by a judge or prosecutor later down the line, meaning that staying calm and polite can be to your ultimate advantage.

In short, it’s best to stay calm, be firm in your request to leave the situation, assert your right to remain silent, and have an attorney present for any questioning.

Remember, it’s essentially impossible to talk your way out of trouble in a police interaction. In most cases, you only provide law enforcement with more evidence to you against you later on. By asserting your right to remain silent, you give yourself an extra layer of protection from the criminal process later on.

How And When Do Miranda Rights Come Into Play When Interacting With Police At Your Home Or Place Of Residence?

If you have a police encounter in your home or a place of residence, the situation will look a little bit different than it would on a street or roadway. The most important thing to know is that without a warrant, an emergency, or the presence of “exigent circumstances'', law enforcement officers cannot enter your home or require you to speak to them.

If officers come to your door without a warrant, you can choose to speak to them, address them through the door, or refuse to speak to them at all. It’s not until they enter your home with a warrant or detain you that Miranda rights actually come into play.

Before then, it’s best to remain silent and contact an attorney who can handle the situation for you. Remember: Anything you say to law enforcement (even from inside your home) can be used against you later down the line.

Officers often ask seemingly harmless questions before they have to inform you of your right to remain silent to gather the evidence they need to make an arrest. Regardless, you do not have to answer any questions from law enforcement without an attorney present.

And of course, if you are arrested at your home or if you are present at your home when a search warrant is being executed, you should assert your right to remain silent and have an attorney present for any questioning.

How And When Do Miranda Rights Come Into Play When Interacting With Police During A Roadside Traffic Stop?

Roadside interactions with law enforcement are unique. If you are pulled over, you should say as little as possible. Regardless of the situation, you are not required to answer questions regarding why you think the officer pulled you over.

Officers tend to ask questions like, “Why do you think I pulled you over?” The truth is, though, this question is only asked to create an opportunity for you to incriminate yourself. As such, the best practice is to politely refuse to answer questions of any kind.

Unfortunately, this gets a little bit more complicated if a DUI investigation progresses during a traffic stop. However, the simple rule of thumb stands: You should identify yourself, but politely exercise your right to remain silent when interacting with law enforcement.

If you are asked to perform roadside sobriety tests, it’s best to politely refuse. Why? If an officer is asking you to perform these tests, they have more likely than not decided to arrest you already.

This means that they'll ask you to do the roadsides, you'll politely refuse, and then they will tell you that you are being arrested for DUI. At that point, you should assert your rights pursuant to Miranda, ask to have an attorney present for any questioning, and remain silent for the rest of the investigation.

When Can You Assert Your Miranda Rights In An Interaction With Law Enforcement?

Because of the widespread confusion surrounding Miranda rights, it’s not uncommon for people to try and assert their rights in unconventional ways. Even worse, many people completely misunderstand how Miranda rights work and freely talk to law enforcement believing that it's safe to say whatever they want.

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, a major problem in almost every criminal case is that people talk too much. So remember, it is never a good idea to engage in conversations with law enforcement. Do not answer questions and assert your rights whenever you are detained. It's best to remain silent as much as possible, because simply speaking to law enforcement almost always makes matters worse. For more information on the Role Of Miranda Rights In A Criminal Case, an initial consultation is your next best step.

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