Paving The Way To Justice

Cassandra Stamm
Paving The Way To Justice

What is a custodial interrogation and why does it matter?

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2023 | Criminal Law

As you probably know, most law enforcement agencies in the U.S. have seemingly limitless resources. They use these resources to investigate crimes and prosecute those who commit them. This includes hiring and training detectives.

If officers believe you might have some involvement in a criminal matter, detectives are likely to want to speak to you. Before you agree to talk, though, you should know what a custodial interrogation is and what it means for you.

Your fundamental rights

The U.S. Constitution affords you many valuable rights, including the right not to incriminate yourself. Thus, because detectives and prosecutors can and will use your words against you, you should think carefully before cooperating with any investigation.

Custodial interrogations

A custodial interrogation happens when members of law enforcement question you without your being free to leave. Consequently, before talking to detectives, you might want to ask whether you can leave. If you can, you are not in custody.

The Miranda Advisement

According to the U.S. Courts, officers must inform you of your basic rights before they conduct a custodial interrogation of you. If you are not in custody and free to leave, officers might not have to give you the Miranda warning, though. This does not meet they cannot use your words against you.

Voluntary statements

Regardless of whether officers have a legal duty to inform you of your rights, you do not want to incriminate yourself accidentally or inadvertently. Therefore, it is usually advisable not to talk to officers at all, at least until you better understand your situation.

Ultimately, if invoking your right to remain silent during a custodial interrogation makes you uncomfortable, asking for a lawyer should stop the questioning immediately.