Police Interactions and Miranda Rights - Questions and Answers

Should I Speak With the Police?

The simple answer to this question is to only talk with the police if and when you have your attorney present. In most instances, your attorney should decline an offer to have you give any statement to the police. The reason behind this practice is that the police already have facts and information at their disposal and will already know if they are going to arrest you before they ever talk to you. When you speak to them without first consulting an attorney, you are taking a huge risk. Essentially, you are risking a conviction in whatever criminal case you might be involved in.

We had a case in Denver, Colorado, where the Denver police approached a man and began to ask questions of him. They asked him about what he was doing out walking at night, where he was coming from where he was going, and many other probing questions. After several minutes, he was arrested for a crime that the police were investigating. They did not need his answers at all. What they were looking to do was to try and get information that they could uses against him in court.

When you decide to speak with the Arapahoe County sheriffs without an attorney, you are risking your freedom. Trying to tell your side of the story to the police will not help you, but it will hurt you. The Arapahoe County District Attorney's office has to be able to prove its case in a court of law without you testifying. To try and convict you, the government has to rely on statements that you have made to other people, evidence about what happened and other witnesses. Therefore, when the police show up at your door and demand to ask you questions, nearly 100 percent of the time, you are only making matters worse. You cannot talk them out of the decision to arrest you, which they've likely already made.

What Are My Miranda Rights?

Generally speaking, you have four basic Miranda rights in Colorado:

  1. the right to be silent when dealing with police and the government
  2. knowledge that the statements you make to the police or government may be used against you in court
  3. the right to consult an attorney
  4. the right to a government appointed attorney if you cannot afford an attorney. The way that your rights work is pretty straight forward: you have the right to be silent and speak with an attorney before talking with police.

Miranda rights come into play once you are in custody and being interrogated (asked questions) by the police. Simply because you have been arrested does not necessarily mean that Miranda rights must be read to you. Miranda warnings must be read at the time when the police in Denver, Centennial or anywhere else in Colorado are trying to ask you questions and when you are in custody. "In custody" basically means that you are not free to leave the presence of the police.

Your Miranda rights serve as protection against overreaching police tactics and information gathering. We have all seen the movies depicting a scene from the 1920s. The police lock a suspect up in a building that could easily be in an abandoned warehouse in Commerce City as much as a police station in Denver. Then the police beat the suspect into confessing to a crime. Your Miranda rights were created from real cases like that. These rights serve as a protection from that old and illegal method of police work.

Today, we still see cases of the police overstepping their boundaries. For instance, recently in Douglas County, Colorado, we had a case where a man was placed in custody and the Douglas County sheriffs never gave him his Miranda advisement. This worked out well for our client, because the police placed him in custody and interrogated him without giving him his Miranda advisement. As a result, most everything he said after they asked him questions was not able to be admitted in court.

It does not matter whether you live in Aurora, Denver, Castle Rock, Greeley or Erie all of the police throughout this great state of Colorado have to give you a Miranda warning if they place you in custody and are going to interrogate you. If the Colorado State Patrol or any other government agency tries to ask you questions, demand to speak with an attorney first. Remember, the Miranda warnings are your constitutional right.

Here in the Denver area, a knowledgeable criminal attorney can help you know what you should and should not say to the government. The police officer's job is to help the district attorney convict someone of the crime. The police are not concerned about you and your personal situation. Our attorneys are. We are experienced protecting the rights of our clients. So, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent and call the O'Malley Law Office immediately at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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