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Does a Person Have to Speak with The Police After Arrest?

When you are being arrested by a police officer, they must read your Miranda Rights:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

So, do you think you have to speak with the police after you’re arrested?

The answer is no.

You have the right to remain silent.

The very first sentence in the Miranda Rights is one that most people tend to forget because being arrested by a cop can be a highly stressful and intense situation. It can sometimes even get physical.

Your Miranda Rights must be read after your arrest or before your interrogation, otherwise it is a violation of your constitutional rights and anything you say cannot be used against you in a court of law.

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. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444 (1966). The State “must show that the defendant understood his rights and intelligently and knowingly relinquished those rights before any custodial interrogation began.” 

The Miranda Rights are part of the fifth and sixth amendment where it protects you from incriminating yourself.

There are exceptions to this. You can tell the police your name and address or give your ID only if they pointed out what you did wrong or if you’re arrested.

For example, as a passenger in a car in Arizona, you do not have to provide your ID during a traffic stop. Otherwise, you legally do not have to tell them anything.

In another example where an officer stops you in the middle of the street and asks for your name, you have the right to know why. You have the right to know why an officer does anything to you. You do not have to engage in a casual encounter with police.

It may be hard, but do not give any explanations or excuses for anything you’re doing. Do not make small talk. Do not discuss where you are going or coming from.  If you want to leave, ask if you are being detained. If they say you are being detained, let them write you a ticket or arrest you, you cannot talk your way out of it and it will not help if you talk.

Get your Arizona criminal defense lawyer before you talk to the police. That is your constitutional right. If you can’t afford an attorney, like the Miranda Rights states, one will be appointed to you for free. Your attorney will instruct on what to do best based on your side of the story.

Being Arrested by the Police or Custody for Purposes of Miranda?

The police can only arrest you if they have probable cause or good reason to believe that you have committed a felony or misdemeanor. They do not need to see you commit a felony, they only need to have probable cause to arrest you.

Custody is 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. If you are deprived of freedom of action in any significant way, arguably you are in custody.

Factors indicative of custody when the accused has not been formally arrested are (1) the site of the interrogation, (2) whether the investigation has focused on the suspect, (3) whether objective indicia of arrest are present, and (4) the length and form of the interrogation.

You can get arrested by all law enforcement officers in Arizona, not just the police. This includes highway patrol officers, probation officers, parole/probation officers, and county sheriff officers are some to name. Any off-duty officer still works for the law, so you will be arrested by an off-duty cop if you have committed a crime in front of them.

You can find out more about what happens after a person is arrested here.

What is Interrogation?

An interrogation means any actions that are likely to solicit an incriminating response. It’s not only questions, but any words or actions the police say or do that they know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect.

If you’re awaiting to be taken into custody or for a detective to arrive to interrogate you and you engage in small talk with an officer where you made incriminating statements, but not in response to any intended questions to incriminate yourself, that is not considered interrogation. Some of the information gathered during the small talk can definitely be used against you in court, so never engage in small talk with the officer. Don’t talk at all and wait for your criminal defense attorney, they know the Arizona laws best.

After You Are Read Your Miranda Rights

After you are read your Miranda Rights, you can be questioned or interrogated by the police without an attorney present only if you understand that you are voluntarily giving up your right to an attorney present while being questioned and your right to remain silent.

If you’ve answered some questions before you have your Arizona defense lawyer present and remembered your right to remain silent, you can stop talking and refuse to answer any more questions.

Additionally, if your Miranda Rights were not read, it doesn’t mean that your case will be dismissed, it just means that anything you said after your arrest or your interrogation cannot be used as evidence against you in your trial. You can get your criminal defense attorney to argue to have your statements suppressed.

The police will try to use anything you say to incriminate you so stay quiet until you get a lawyer. Also, the prosecutor needs to prove that all the evidence they intend to use in court was lawfully gathered and not in violation of your constitutional rights.

However, you are entitled to be informed of any issues concerning evidence against you. If you have proof that evidence was gathered illegally and in violation of your constitutional rights, you can speak with your Arizona criminal defense attorney to file a motion so that the evidence can be suppressed and not used in court.

After you are arrested and taken to the police station, you have a right to a phone call. Use that phone call to call your criminal defense attorney in Arizona, but if you don’t have their number or forgot it, call your bail bond agent, friend, or relative so they can pay your bail. Do not discuss facts of your case on the phone since everything is being recorded and will be used against you.

Voluntary Confessions in Arizona

If you voluntarily gave information to the police, that’s a different story. It is admissible in court sometimes even if they did not read your Miranda Rights because you willingly told them. It’s important to tell your Arizona criminal defense attorney anything you can remember about talking to the police so they can see if you gave voluntary information.

Voluntary confessions really depend on the circumstances. If the statements were extracted by any sort of threats or violence, (or) obtained by any direct or implied promises, however slight, (or) by the exertion of any improper influence.’”   Bram v. United States, 168 U.S. 532, 542-543 (1897). Promises could also lead a court to find your statements were involuntary. Before a statement will be considered involuntary because of a ‘promise,’ evidence must be established that (1) a promise of benefit or leniency was in fact made, and (2) the suspect relied on that promise in making the statement. 

A defendant’s belief that an officer would not arrest him if he spoke is not enough to prove that a statement was involuntary. Questioning a suspect before arresting him, but after advising him of his rights and telling him that the officer has probable cause to arrest is not an implied promise to not arrest, if the defendant cooperates.

Police are also allowed to lie to you and your confession may still be voluntary regardless of the lies you relied on when making the confession. Courts will tolerate some form of police gamesmanship so long as the games do not overcome a suspect’s will and induce a confession not truly voluntary.

Know Your Constitutional Rights & Get an Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney

The police have rules and regulations to keep them in place as well. They cannot just do whatever they want just because they work for the law. Their job is to detect and prevent crime and disorder, enforce regulations, and maintain law and order, all for the safety and health of the public.

You have your rights. Don’t forget it.

Contact your criminal defense attorney in Arizona to see if the evidence in your case can be challenged.