Advisement of Miranda Rights, also called Miranda Warnings, is not required in a First or Second Tier Encounter in Georgia. The three tiers of encounters briefly are:
- A First Tier Encounter is casual contact between a citizen and the police. It is a purely voluntary and no detention takes place.
- A Second Tier Encounter involves a brief investigative detention of someone by the police. You cannot simply walk away but investigative detention is not an arrest.
- A Third Tier Encounter involves custodial detention of someone by police. This is an arrest.
Any incriminating statements you make while being interrogated prior to being placed under arrest are admissible in court.
Miranda Warnings Don't Always Apply
Two things must happen before the police must issue a Miranda warning:
- You are in police custody
- You are being interrogated
Therefore, if you are not formally in police custody and aren't being interrogated, the police don't have to give you a Miranda warning.
Keep in mind that you are under no legal obligation to talk to the police during a First or Second Tier encounter.
What is "in Police Custody"?
"Police custody" is generally defined as anytime the police deprive you of your freedom of action in a significant way. Being arrested is the most obvious way an individual is "in Police Custody". But, arguments can be made that being detained and questioned, not feeling that you can leave, can also be determined to be "in Police Custody". Miranda warnings are generally not required until you are arrested.
Generally speaking, an actual arrest must take place before the police need to give you a Miranda warning. This means that simple things such as traffic stops or a police officer walking up to you and asking you questions are not considered police custody. When in doubt, just stay silent (except for the exception about identification discussed below).
Interrogation by Officer
A Miranda warning must be given prior to you being interrogated by the Police. An officer requesting identifying information from you is not necessarily considered an interrogation and it's usually in your best interests to provide this information to the officer.
Generally, an individual is being interrogated when the officer begins asking questions that could implicate you in a crime. At this point, anything you say will be used against you if you have been properly read your Miranda rights.
Once a person is arrested, advisement of Miranda Rights is required before the person can be questioned.
If the officer asks you any questions after you are arrested but before you are advised of your Miranda Rights, any statement you make would be excluded.
If the prosecutor's case rests solely on this suppressed statement, then your case will most likely be dismissed. However, in most instances, the prosecutor relies on evidence other than your incriminating statement.
At the federal level, Miranda Rights apply only to oral or written statements.
In Georgia, Miranda Rights apply not only to statements, but also to certain acts.
For example, if someone is arrested for DUI and then asked to perform field sobriety evaluations without being Mirandized, the field evaluations would be inadmissible.
Once someone is arrested, a voluntary or spontaneous utterance is admissible even if no Miranda Warnings are given.
The best advice I can give to all citizens is:
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT - SO DO IT!
Besides giving the officer your name and date of birth, there is no other reason for you to speak with or engage the officer. Always be polite and remain calm. They are their to do a job, which is fine - but you have the absolute right to remain silent. Anything you say WILL be used against you.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime and gave a statement to the police, it is absolutely important you retain the services of a knowledgable and experienced attorney. You have to protect yourself and we are here to protect you too. Call us today at 770-594-1777 for a free consultation.