When do the police have to read me my rights?


When a person is suspected of committing a misdemeanor crime or felony crime and is taken into police custody or is significantly deprived of freedom, and the police want to interrogate that person, the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution requires the police to read that person what is known as their "Miranda warnings". The Miranda warnings in New York and Westchester County are as follows:

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law
  • You have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any questions and have him or her with you
  • If you can't pay for a lawyer, one will be given to you before any questions, if you wish

After a person is their Miranda warnings, and that person does not invoke their right to remain silent, every statement that they make to the police is allowed to be used against them in court including at a trial.

What is the definition of being in Custody or being significantly deprived of freedom?

The standard for determining whether a person is in police custody or is being significantly deprived of their freedom is whether a reasonable person, who is in the defendant's position, innocent of any crime, would have thought that they were free to leave. In making this determination many factors must be considered including:

  • how much time the person was with the police
  • whether the police made that person aware of their constitutional rights
  • was the police questioning investigative in nature
  • was the police questioning accusatory in nature
  • what was the individual's level of cooperation with the police
  • the location of the questioning
  • the atmosphere under which the questioning was conducted
  • whether the individuals freedom of action or movement was restricted

With regard to whether an individual is in custody the courts in New York have consistently held that:

  • being in handcuffs does not automatically mean that the person is in custody.
  • the subjective belief of the police officer or the defendant are not controlling
  • whether a person is in custody is a question of fact

What is the definition of an Interrogation?

An "interrogation" is not determined by the subjective intent of the police but is instead determined by whether an objective person with the same knowledge as the police would conclude that the remark or conduct of the police is reasonably likely to elicit a response.

What happens if I am not read my Miranda warnings?

If the police fail to read a person their Miranda warnings and proceed to interrogate that person then any statement made by that person will not permitted to be used against them for any purpose. However, there are exceptions although they are very limited. For example, if the police are acting in the interests of "public safety" in an emergency situation, Miranda warnings may not have to be given.

Necessity of Having an Experienced Westchester County Criminal Lawyer

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime in Westchester County it is absolutely vital for you to retain a Westchester County Criminal defense lawyer immediately without delay. The Westchester County criminal defense lawyers at our White Plains firm consist of former criminal prosecutors and we have over 50 years of combined experience to assist you in protecting your rights. This includes making sure that your constitutional right to have Miranda warnings read to you was not violated by the police. Our firm has a proven and successful record when it comes to challenging whether statements elicited from our clients by the police were constitutionally obtained. In many instances they were not. The police are human and they make mistakes. However, if you do not have an experienced Westchester County criminal defense lawyer at your side to recognize the police errors, mistakes can be made by your lawyer as well.


If you are suspected of committing a crime or have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime in Westchester County or surrounding counties please contact one of our Westchester County criminal defense lawyers for a free consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westchester County seat of White Plains. Contact us by calling us at (914) 946-4808 or online.