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Being in handcuffs doesn’t mean you are in state custody

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Most people in police custody know exactly when they are under arrest. Police officers typically announce that they are placing someone in state custody. This process usually includes placing the suspect in handcuffs and transporting them either to a police holding facility or putting them in a police vehicle.

If someone is subject to questioning by police officers while in state custody, the officers must provide the Miranda Warning that advises them of their right to remain silent and to connect with professional legal representation. Any information obtained during an inappropriate questioning is subject to challenges in criminal court.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has just ruled on a Miranda Warning case in a way that will affect your rights when interacting with the police.

What did the Supreme Court decide?

The Supreme Court frequently has to review cases related to the Miranda Warning. The Warning itself exists because of a decades-old ruling. In the summer of 2022, the Supreme Court entered an opinion on a case where a police officer put someone in handcuffs during a conversation. That discussion later played a key role in the prosecution of the defendant.

The defendant later asserted that the police officer violated their rights by putting them in handcuffs and not providing the Miranda Warning before the discussion. The Supreme Court found that simply being in handcuffs or in a police vehicle without a formal arrest does not put someone in state custody and therefore does not entitle them to hear about their Miranda rights. This case will have implications for countless criminal defendants in the years to come.

What this ruling means for you

Police officers will now have an easier time tricking you into implicating yourself and then using that against you in court. They can approach you, make you feel as though you are subject to detention and then question you, all without needing to provide the Miranda Warning.

The best way that you can protect yourself given this recent ruling is to recognize that any time you talk to the police, you put yourself at legal risk. You will have the best chance of avoiding charges or a conviction if you utilize your right to remain silent whenever you encounter police officers. Keeping up to date on recent changes to criminal procedures can help those accused of committing a criminal offense.