A common question I receive from clients is whether police must read you your rights. While a failure to read you your rights is not a defense to the underlying charge of DWI, that failure can be used to get any statements you made to police thrown out. This can be critical in close cases where the defendant admits to drinking alcohol after being arrested. If you believe the police violated your Miranda rights during your DUI arrest, call now to speak with experienced defense lawyer, Anthony J. Vecchio.
Once an officer seeks to question an individual in custody, he must inform the detainee of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384, U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694, 706-07 (1966). That is, there must be interrogation (express questioning or its functional equivalent) and custody (circumstances under which a reasonable innocent person would conclude he was not free to leave), to trigger Miranda. State v. Hall, 253 N.J. Super. 84, 89 (Law Div. 1990).
Custody is not and cannot be confined to physical lock-ups at police headquarters. State v. Coburn, 221 N.J. Super. 586, 595 (App. Div. 1987). “Custody may occur in a suspect’s home or in a public place.” Ibid. In general, custody arises only after the police conduct constitutes the functional equivalent of a formal arrest based on an objective evaluation of the totality of the circumstances. Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420 (1984).
A defendant who objects to the admission of his own statement is entitled to “a fair hearing in which both the factual issues and the voluntariness of his confession are actually and reliably determined.” Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368 (1964). To determine whether the statement was voluntarily made, the court should consider, under the totality of the circumstances, whether the defendant’s will was overborne and whether his capacity for self-determination was critically impaired. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 225-226 (1973).
This inquiry includes a consideration of the following criteria: the suspect’s age, education, and intelligence, advice as to constitutional rights, length of detention, and whether physical punishment or mental exhaustion was involved. State v. Miller, 76 N.J. 392, 403 (1978). It is well settled that in determining whether a defendant’s statement was freely and voluntarily given, the court must consider the totality of the circumstances under which the statement was given rather than focusing on any one particular factor.
The “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine has been held to apply to violations of the Fifth Amendment. Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428 (2000); State v. Hartley, 103 N.J. 252, 271-72 (1986). This exclusionary rule has been clearly announced to apply to Miranda violations. Ibid. As such, the appropriate remedy for evidence obtained by the state in violation of the Miranda rule is the exclusion of that evidence at trial. Ibid.
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