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29 Sep 23

Understanding Your Federal Miranda Rights in Colorado

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Last Updated on: 2nd October 2023, 11:59 pm

 

Understanding Your Federal Miranda Rights in Colorado

So you got arrested in Colorado? That totally sucks. Let me break down what’s happening with your rights and stuff. I’m no lawyer, but I’ll try to explain this Miranda stuff in simple terms.

First off, Miranda rights come from a famous Supreme Court case called Miranda v. Arizona in 1966. Basically it said that when you’re arrested and questioned by police, they have to tell you certain rights you have under the constitution. Otherwise, anything you say can’t be used against you in court later.

Your Miranda rights include:

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in court
  • You have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering questions and to have them present during questioning
  • If you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you before questioning if you wish

So when exactly do the police have to read you your rights? There’s 2 things that have to happen:

  1. You have to be in “custody.” This basically means you’re not free to leave – like if you’ve been arrested.
  2. You have to be subjected to an “interrogation.” This is when the police start asking you questions about the crime.

If those 2 things happen, the cops need to read you the Miranda warning above. If they don’t, anything you say can get thrown out of court later.

Now here’s the tricky part – when are you officially in “custody” in Colorado? Every situation is different, but basically it’s when a reasonable person would feel like they can’t just walk away and leave. The courts look at all the circumstances to decide this.

For example, if the cops say your not under arrest but take away your phone and won’t let you leave the room, your probably in custody even though they didn’t officially arrest you. Make sense? The courts look at if your freedom of movement is restricted like you were actually arrested.

Some other things they look at are if you were handcuffed, put in a police car, booked, fingerprinted, etc. Those are all signs your in custody and Miranda kicks in.

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Now once you’ve been read your rights, you can either invoke them or waive them. Let’s break this down:

Invoking Your Miranda Rights

This means telling the police you want to use your rights. The main ones are:

  • Remaining silent – you tell the cops you don’t want to talk to them.
  • Asking for a lawyer – you say you want your attorney present before answering questions.

Once you invoke your right to remain silent or ask for an attorney, the police have to stop questioning you. If they keep going, they’re violating your rights and anything else you say could get thrown out.

Many legal experts say invoking your right to an attorney is the best option when arrested. An attorney can advise you on what to say and what not to say. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for your lawyer – it’s your constitutional right!

Waiving Your Miranda Rights

You also have the option of waiving your rights if you want to speak with the police. This means you agree to talk and don’t use your right to remain silent or ask for a lawyer.

If you do this, the police will have you sign a waiver confirming you understand your rights but are choosing to talk anyway. However, even if you sign this, you can invoke your rights at anytime during questioning by clearly telling the police you want to stop talking or want your lawyer.

Many experts advise against waiving your rights, since anything you say can be used against you. But sometimes there are strategic reasons your attorney may recommend it if you’re innocent.

If You’re a Minor

Minors under 18 have the same Miranda rights as adults. However, Colorado law says if a minor is in custody, a parent must agree to waive the Miranda rights along with the child for any questioning to occur.

So if you’re under 18, the police have to provide the same Miranda warning but also get your parent to consent to you talking without a lawyer present. Always ask for your parent immediately if you’re a minor who has been arrested!

When Miranda Doesn’t Apply

There are some exceptions where your Miranda rights don’t kick in, even if questioned by police:

  • If you’re not in custody – like if cops just randomly ask you questions on the street.
  • During routine booking questions after your arrest (like name, address, DOB, etc).
  • If it’s an emergency situation where public safety is at risk.
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The police do not have to read you the Miranda warning in these situations. But it’s still smart to avoid talking to the cops if you can and ask for a lawyer if you do talk. In general, anything you say to law enforcement can come back to bite you later.

Violations of Miranda – Talk to a Lawyer

If you think the police violated your Miranda rights, tell your criminal defense attorney right away. They can file a motion to suppress any statements you made when your rights were violated. If the judge agrees your rights were violated, this can get evidence thrown out so it can’t be used against you.

Hopefully this breakdown makes your Miranda rights a bit easier to understand if you’ve been arrested in Colorado. But I’m really not an expert, so make sure to talk to a real criminal defense lawyer about how this applies to your specific case. Your freedom is on the line, so get a pro in your corner!

 

Sources:

[1] “Miranda Rights” in Colorado – What You Need to Know – Shouse Law

[2] When do my Miranda Rights “Kick In” | Denver Crime Lawyer – H. Michael Steinberg

[3] Understanding the Miranda Rule | Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer – H. Michael Steinberg

[4] The Miranda Warning And Your Legal Rights in Colorado

[5] Don’t They Have To Read Me My Rights? – The Meaning Of Miranda – Custodial Interrogation Under Colorado Law

[6] Miranda Warnings – When Are You Under Arrest And In Custody In Colorado – Criminal Lawyer Series