S. W. Dawson
Is Miranda Necessary?
Many people wrongfully believe that a person must receive the well-known “Miranda” warning when he or she is questioned by law enforcement agents or police. While this can get far more technical, be aware that if you have not been arrested then you will not be “Mirandized.” Any conversation you have with law enforcement when you are not in custody will generally be considered consensual by the court. It gets murkier, but if you go to the police station, FBI, or another law enforcement agency to talk with them, even if you felt compelled to go, this will also be considered a consensual conversation and what you say will likely be used against you. Let’s take this one step further. Assume you are challenged that what you are saying is not true or that you are not believed. Your best option is not to try to explain your prior statements, but to terminate the “interview” and leave. Any attempt to clarify your statement will likely be written up as a change in your story or that you were not being truthful with the officer. Don’t talk without your lawyer present; there is truly no need to do so and the unwanted consequences are far greater than remaining silent.