In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, individuals on a daily basis come into contact with police officers. In many cases, individuals who are interacting with law enforcement officials find themselves in a position where they feel they are not free to leave the conversation and are subject to questioning that may result in legal consequences. It is essential that any individual who believes that they are the subject of such interactions are aware of their rights and how an experienced attorney can help them if they face any legal repercussions as a result of the interaction.
A custodial interrogations occurs when an individual is in custody and subject to questioning by police officers. Custody refers to situations and circumstances in which an individual is placed under arrest, or a situation in which a reasonable person would believe that they are unable to freely move from the conversation. A good example of a custodial interrogation is when an individual is brought to a police station and placed in a room in which they feel they are unable to leave at any time. In order to determine whether or not a person is in custody, several factors have to be examined. Common indicators of custody include:
- The location of where the individual is being question
- The individuals who are conducting the questioning
- Whether the room or location is commonly open to members of the public or is a restricted area (backroom of a police station)
- Whether the person being questioned believes that they are unable to leave without the questioner’s consent
- Whether the door of the room that the person is being questioned in is open, closed, or locked.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, the purpose is to highlight the fact that a person is deemed to be in “custody” when circumstances arise in which that person reasonably believes that they do not have the liberty to simply leave on their on volition. If the person is taken into custody, he/she will most likely be subject to an interrogation.
What is an Interrogation?
An interrogation arises when police officers are questioning an individual who is in custody and the line of questioning is likely to illicit an incriminating response. Common interrogation questions are:
- Where an individual was on a particular time, date, and location
- Whether or not the individual knew of a person who was the victim of a crime
- Whether or not the individual was involved in the commission of a crime
- Whether or not the individual had knowledge of crime that occurred in a particular area.
If any individual is subjected to a custodial interrogation, police officers must inform the person of his/her Miranda rights. These rights inform the individual that they have the right to remain silent, they have the right to an attorney, and anything they say can be used against them in a court of law. If a custodial interrogation occurs and the person is not mirandized, then any and all information gathered during the interrogation may be suppressed and not admissible in court. Moreover, if the person is mirandized and requests an attorney, the interrogating officer(s) MUST cease all questions until counsel has been acquired.
Have You Been Subjected to a Custodial Interrogation?
If you or someone you know has been subjected to a custodial interrogation, The Law Office of Vincent J. Caputo is ready to help through this process. We understand that situations such as these can often be difficult for the individual involved and that is why we will work with you every step of the way in achieving the best outcome possible. Our staff of experienced attorneys will examine the facts surrounding your interrogation and ensure that all of your rights are protected from unconstitutional police practices. Contact our office for a free consultation today, your future is our priority!