Miranda Rights (Not) Read in Wisconsin: 2 Ways the Cops Get it Wrong
During Arrest for OWI/Drunk Driving, Drug Possession and other charges, there are circumstances in which you are entitled to your Miranda rights.
TV vs. Your Local Waukesha & Milwaukee Police Departments
On television shows, we see that as soon as people are arrested, they are given their Miranda rights. The suspects are placed in handcuffs and then led into a police car, where on the way to the police car the Miranda warning is read. Usually the audience hears, “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law,” and then they transition to an interrogation room where they are questioning the suspect. Once the suspect confesses, the show ends and everyone goes home happy that justice has been served.
In real world of criminal law, it does not work that way.
There is more to your Miranda rights than the first sentence. There are two conditions that must be met in order to be entitled to those Miranda rights.
Read correctly, your Miranda rights are as follows: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?” Many police officers carry a card with the exact phrasing to ensure they say it correctly. Being read your rights and having them read correctly is imperative to any case.
Miranda Rights in Wisconsin during an Arrest
When you are entitled to your rights, two conditions must be met: custody and interrogation.
You must be in custody and you must be being interrogated. What does “in custody” mean? In many cases, being in custody means that you have been arrested by police and they have informed you that you are under arrest. In other situations, it means you are not free to leave. For example, you may be in handcuffs, but have not yet been arrested. The general rule of thumb is that you can be considered to be in custody if a reasonable person in your situation would not feel free to leave.
What does “interrogation” mean? Interrogation is not a request for personal information like your name and address. Interrogation is defined as any question that would elicit an incriminating response. An incriminating response is something that would give information about your role in criminal activity.
So, when you have been handcuffed and you are sitting in an interrogation room being asked incriminating questions, you are entitled to your Miranda rights.