Boston Criminal Defense Attorney explains the exceptions to the Miranda warnings requirement
As Boston criminal lawyers, as well as many people, know the police are required to give certain warnings (known as Miranda warnings – “You have the right to remain silent . . .”) to a person in custody, before questioning him. Most people do not know, however, that there are exceptions to the Miranda requirement – instances in which the failure of the police to advise you of your Miranda rights will not require a court to later suppress your statements to the police.
As basic as it seems, you may “waive” or give up your right to remain silent (1) If you talk to the police, answer their questions, and engage with them in conversation; or (2) if you fail to exercise your right by telling the police, “I don’t want to talk,” or “I choose to remain silent.” Simply remaining silent is not enough; you have to affirmatively assert your right.
Booking and Biographical Questions
Basic questions asked during the booking of a suspect do not usually require Miranda warnings. However, Miranda warnings may be required if the police engage in an extended interrogation and deviate from basic biographical questons to questioning you about the crime. Warnings are required if the police officer knew or should have known that the questions asked were reasonably likely to cause the individual to respond in an incriminating manner. Miranda warnings also are required when the goal of the biographical questions seems to be to obtain information about the crime. For example, if the suspect claims his name is “Bill,” but the police are looking for a suspect named “John,” the police would likely have to read the suspect the Miranda warnings before engaging in protracted questioning about his use of different names.
The police are not required to give Miranda warnings if, under the particular circumstances, there is an objectively reasonable need to protect the police or the public from immediate danger associated with a weapon. For example, if the police are in pursuit of a suspect they know to be armed with a gun and, upon catching him find that he has tossed his weapon, the police can ask about the whereabouts of the gun without first advising the suspect of his Miranda rights.
Contact a Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer
When your constitutional rights are at issue and your freedom is at stake, you need a fearless defense attorney by your side. If you would like to talk with us about your situation, call us at (617) 492-0055. We will respond promptly.
Kevin J. Mahoney is a Cambridge trial lawyer.
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