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Custodial Interrogation in West Palm Beach and Your Rights

As a practicing criminal lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL I am continually asked the question by those accused of crimes “whether or not the statements and information that they provided to the police will be used against them?”  The answer that I give them depends on many factors, but the most important thing I ask is whether or not they requested an attorney before or at the time law enforcement officers stopped them and began asking them questions.

Both the United States and Florida Constitutions protect criminal defendants from compelled self-incrimination or providing statements against themselves. See U.S. Const. Amend. V and Art. I  sec. 9, Fl Const. The United States Supreme Court has been steadfast in holding that law enforcement officers are required to inform suspects of their right to have counsel, a lawyer, present during custodial interrogations. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 at 444 (1966).

But what is a custodial interrogation? Does Miranda or the rights of the accused to have a lawyer present only apply when I am in a police or sheriff station?

Custodial interrogation is simply defined as: as questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his or her freedom of action in any significant way. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).  But does custody mean inside a police station or sheriff station? The answer is NO!

Law enforcement officers place a citizen in custody or under formal arrest when his or her freedom of movement is restrained to an extent associated with formal arrest.  See Noto v. State, 42 So. 3rd 814 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010). So if you are stopped at a traffic stop and after which, placed into handcuffs and made to sit on a roadside curb or in the back of a police car, and then asked questions by the cop, this would likely qualify as a custodial interrogation, as your freedom of movement has been deprived and the questioning was initiated by law enforcement officers. So before this type of questioning by law enforcement officers, it would be likely that law enforcement officers would have to advise you of your Fifth Amendment Rights to a have a lawyer present during all questioning. In other words, the accused would have the protection of Miranda.

What if the accused or target of the investigation voluntarily goes to the police or sheriff station and gives a statement? This voluntary act of the accused or target by going to the police or sheriff station to give a statement will likely not provide them with the prophylactic protections of Miranda. The Miranda protections that provide the accused or target with the right to an attorney are freely given up if voluntarily done so or if the accused is free to leave. One can hardly argue that by voluntarily going to a police or sheriff station to speak to government agents is not a voluntary waiver of the precious rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The waiver occurs because the accused or target is free to come and go in and out of the police or sheriff’s station as they see fit. In other words, the accused or target rights to movement is not being restrained by anyone else other than themselves.

With these principles in mind, it is good to always exercise your Constitutional Rights. Your Constitutional Right to an Attorney is very important and should be exercised at all times! The Founding Fathers understood the corruption and abuses of government, better than any other group of people and therefore form this new government. The Founders of Our Constitution provided us with these rights that are inalienable. Our right to speak or stay silent is inalienable, because as the Founders viewed it, it came from God.

The Founders knew were this principle originated from, but codified it into a Our Constitution not because the citizens were dumb, but to keep the tranny of government on notice that we the people have a contract with government; and like all contracts worth having it was place in writing to keep corrupt power grabbing government officials on notice of their rights and responsibilities.  The Founders also knew that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Moreover, the principle of remaining silent is so simple that it even goes back to parenting.  As we teach our children, as our parents have taught us, to never speak to strangers. Law enforcement officers and deputy sheriffs are in fact strangers and are no different then what our parents taught us. The legal advice is never to speak to a cop or law enforcement officer, no matter where you find yourself, without first consulting with Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine. If you have no time to telephone me at (561) 832-1170, then always do what thousands before you have done and say: “I want my lawyer Andrew D. Stine!” I guarantee you that once you utter the words: “I want my West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer, Andrew D. Stine” all questioning will STOP!

If you or a loved one is facing any type of criminal charges or questioning, by law enforcement officers or the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, then Hire Stine or Do the Time! Call today (561) 832-1170 for your free immediate consultation.

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