The Custody Requirement for Miranda Warnings
Under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, criminal suspects have a right to remain silent and to be free from police interrogation. Most people know that they have certain rights called Miranda rights wherein police have to notify a criminal suspect that he has a right to remain silent because anything said can be used against the suspect.
Before a police officer must notify the suspect of such rights, however, the suspect must be in police custody. When a criminal defendant is at home, it is less likely that the defendant will be considered in custody. There are, however, instances where a defendant at home has also been found to be in custody.
When is a Criminal Defendant in Police Custody at Home?
Throughout the country many different federal courts and state courts have addressed the custody requirement when a defendant is at home at being questioned by the police at his home. In U.S. v. Brobst, 558 F.3d 982 (9th Cir. 2009) the Ninth Circuit court held that the defendant was in custody for Miranda purposes when he made statements to officers at his home. The officers were inside the defendant’s home when the defendant arrived home. They handed him a search warrant and told him they found child pornography in the house. The court found that the police should have read him his Miranda rights.
In U.S. v. Lawson, 563 F.3d 750 (8th Cir. 2009), the Eighth Circuit found that the defendant was not in custody when he was interviewed in his home, he was not restrained, he was told he did not have to answer questions, he was not physically threatened, and he was interviewed for less than an hour.
In U.S. v. Gitarts, 341 Fed. Appx. 935 (4th Cir. 2009), the court found that the defendant was no in custody in his home when he was questioned by law enforcement officers because he was in the presence of his family, he was not restrained or handcuffed, he was not told he was under arrest, and he was told that he could leave at any time.
Don’t Talk – Call Us
The best thing you could do if officers come to your home is to politely refuse to answer any questions and request that you speak with a lawyer. It will save you a lot of headache in the future.
For representation for your Utah criminal defense matter contact our law firm at 801.618.1334 for a free consultation.