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Miranda Warnings During Rape, Child Sexual Abuse Investigation?

In rape and sexual abuse of a child investigations, the detective will usually call the suspect to get her "side of the story."  After charges are filed, a defendant calls to ask me if the interview can be thrown out becuase the officer did not read her Miranda warnings.

Most people, because of crime shows, are very familiar with the Miranda warnings.  But most do not realize that an officer does not have to read a suspect her Miranda warnings unless she is in custody.  So, if the officer is questioning the suspect at her home, it is not likely that the officer needs to give any Miranda warnings.  

If you are being questioned and are unsure if you are in custody or not, ask the officer if you are "free to leave."    If you are questioned without being Mirandized, but you were not in police custody, your interview is still admissible at trial. 

If a suspect is in the back of a police car or at the police station, she is in custody fo purposes of Miranda and the warnings must be given before an interrogation begins.  If the officer fails to issue Miranda warnings, the interview will likely be tossed at a motion to suppress hearing, meaning the prosecutor cannot use the interview at trial.

If, however, the defendant testifies at her trial and she says something different than she said in the police interview, the prosecutor will be allowed to use the interview to impeach her.  By talking to police, a suspect is potentially compromising her case.  Don't talk to the police.  The police are not your friend, even if they are acting like they are.  The prosecutor won't deal with your case more leniently if you talk, even though the police will tell you this.  You can always talk later--with the assistance of an attorney-- if there is something you'd like the prosecutor to know.

If you are ever contacted by a detective for an interview, ask for a lawyer.  The police have to stop questioning you until a lawyer is provided to you.  Don't compromise your rape or sexual abuse of a child case because of something you say.

If you are under investigation for rape or a child sex offense in Salt Lake City, Provo, Layton, Vernal, Ogden or anywhere in the State of Utah, give me a call before you talk to a detective.

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