Whether the police decide to question you in jail, the police station, or at the scene of the crime, if you are in custody, the police must first read your Miranda rights. Your Miranda rights guarantee you the right to remain silent, to have a lawyer present during questioning, and to access a court-appointed lawyer if you can’t afford legal representation. Even though police must inform you of these rights if you are in custody, it’s not required if you haven’t been placed in custody yet.
If you haven’t been arrested yet and the police ask you questions without reading your Miranda rights, your answers are admissible in court. In many cases, you can politely decline to answer a police officer’s pre-arrest questions, especially if you believe you could potentially become a suspect in the case. However, your right to remain silent may not apply if you are suspected of loitering or police begin to question you at a traffic stop.
Stop and frisk searches
Police officers are allowed to stop you if he or she has reasonable suspicion that you are involved in criminal activity. In these cases, police officers are allowed to stop and question you as well as conduct a limited pat down search for self-protection. If a police officer is conducting a stop and frisk and feels a suspicious package that is commonly used to carry illegal substances like drugs, then this may be enough cause for the police officer to lawfully conduct a more intensive search.
After being arrested, you must be informed of your Miranda rights, including your right to remain silent. In this situation, you may feel more comfortable invoking your Miranda rights by informing the officers you would like to first consult with an attorney before answering any questions.
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