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Things to know about police interrogations

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Uncategorized

If a Missouri police officer stops you, he or she might start asking questions. Such questions might include queries regarding where you have been in the past hour or two, who you were with or what you were doing, such as whether you consumed alcohol or drugs. A police officer might ask if you know a particular individual or whether you would mind if your vehicle, home or person undergoes a search. Remember, there is a difference between official police interrogations and questions asked before an arrest has taken place. 

During a traffic stop or when a police officer stops you as a pedestrian or knocks on your front door at home, you are under no obligation to answer questions. You must confirm your identity if asked to do so. If a traffic officer tells you to step out of a vehicle, you must comply. However, beyond basic information and protocol, you do not have to answer any further questions. You may invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. 

Official police interrogations occur after an arrest 

Police may ask you anything they want during a traffic stop or on the street or when visiting your home. This doesn’t mean you have to answer. If an officer takes you into custody, there may be an official interrogation. If you are in police custody, an official interrogation cannot take place until you have been issued a Miranda warning. 

This is a warning that informs you of your rights, such as the right to remain silent (as mentioned earlier), the right to hire an attorney and the right to obtain a court-appointed attorney if you do not have the means to hire one. Police do not have to issue a Miranda warning before placing you in custody.  

Failure to issue Miranda warning before custodial interrogation 

Part of the Miranda warning is a clause that informs an individual in police custody that anything they do or say during interrogation can be used against them in court. If police have interrogated you without offering a Miranda warning, then your statements become inadmissible in court. 

If a Missouri police officer arrests you, you might feel nervous or afraid. Under stress, it’s easy to forget your rights or what to do to exercise them. Securing legal representation enables you to have a personal advocate present who is knowledgeable about your rights and the criminal justice system while you undergo police interrogations. You may request this representation as soon as an arrest has taken place.