Articles Posted in Miranda Rights

October 18, 2015

Levels of Detention

By Brian Manchester

In an earlier blog I discussed the misconceptions of Miranda warnings and talked about the different levels of police detention. In this article I will discuss these levels in more detail and your rights as a citizen during each level.

Police Detention Levels

In Pennsylvania there are three main levels of interactions with police. They are the

  1. “mere encounter”
  2. “investigative detention”
  3. “custodial detention”

These levels are extremely important when dealing with search and seizure issues with the 4th amendment of the US Constitution and PA’s Constitution. These levels offer different rights during each level of interaction and limits on police.

Let’s start with the least intrusive and work our way up.

Mere Encounter.

The police can approach you at this level with no support of any level of suspicion. However you as a citizen have no official compulsion to stop or respond to the police.

As an example if you are walking down the street, the police can walk up to you and ask to talk to you. You do not have to respond as long as they have no suspicion that you have done anything wrong.

You can walk away.

The problem is you will not know what suspicion the officers might have. If they have a level of suspicion then we move up to our next level of interaction.

Investigative Detention.

The police at this point must have a reasonable suspicion that you have been involved in some type of criminal activity. This level of suspicion required the police to be able to articulate the facts that rose to the level of reasonable suspicion.

During the Investigative Detention the police are allowed to stop and detain and question you for a period of time, this exact period in undefined by the courts. However this detention cannot involve coercive conditions as to constitute the functional equivalent of an arrest.

An example of this type of detention is when a person is pulled over for suspicion of DUI. The police at the beginning of the stop must be able to articulate facts supporting the stopping of an individual for DUI, even though they do not actually know whether you are driving DUI.

That can be determined during the detention of the individual when the officer can investigate the DUI by having the person go through field sobriety test and usually involved a portable breathalyzer.

Custodial Detention.

Now the police must have probable cause. Once into the custodial detention phase you have been arrested for a crime in which the police must be able to meet their burden of probable case. Now your Constitutional rights begin to start applying; especially if the police start to interrogate you.

If the police are interrogating you, your Miranda rights now apply, which include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

Should you find yourself in a situation where you need legal representation you need to contact criminal defense attorneys that are going to know the law inside and out. Here at Manchester and Associates we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. At Manchester and Associates, we only practice in criminal defense, thus we understand when people find themselves accused or charged with a crime, and the challenges that each individual case could face in the PA judicial system. With a combined experience of over 65 years, there is almost no situation we have not encountered. For a free consultation we can be contacted toll free at .

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October 14, 2015

Your Miranda Rights

By Brian Manchester

We’re all familiar with it – “You have the right to remain silent” and so on and so forth. This phrase is part of the Miranda Warning, otherwise known as your Miranda Rights. But you’ve probably never really dug into what these rights actually mean for you, so I will explain them here.

Misconception about the Miranda Warning

While reading the American Bar Association journal today I came across an interesting article on misconceptions about our US Constitution. This got me thinking about our US Constitution and our PA Constitution and other general misconceptions with the law.

One of the main misconceptions I hear from clients is that they were never Mirandized when they were arrested. This I am sure comes from the numerous cop television shows and movies were a person is tackled to the ground and the officers immediately state the Miranda Warnings; however even if you are arrested under the law you do not ever have to be Mirandized. As long as you are not being “interrogated” these warnings never have to be given.

The main distinction here is the level of control the police are influencing over you and whether or not you are in custody and being “interrogated”. As far as the different levels of incarceration/police control, that is a complicated subject on its own and I will discuss those levels in a later post.

3 Levels of Police Control

For now, I will just state that there are three main levels of police control over an individual:

  • the “mere encounter”.
  • the “investigative detention”.
  • and the “custodial detention”.

Now Miranda rights can be given at any time but are only required during “custodial detention” and if you are being “interrogated”.

What Do I Do If My Miranda Rights Are Violated?

If they are not given in this situation and the police are using the statements that you gave to them against you, only then can you make a claim to the Court that your Miranda rights have been violated.

At this point the issue will need to be brought in front of a Judge and ruled upon to limit the police from using the statements and preclude then from testifying about the statements.

When it comes to being arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania your right to remain silent and Miranda rights get murkier. In Pennsylvania, if you are sitting in your car and a police officer asks you questions you are not considered in custody so everything you say will get used against you.

Once you get to the hospital you are even told by the police officer you have no right to an attorney before they ask you to give blood. Not until after the blood test does a police officer give you your Miranda rights warnings. However, to even make this more complex once arrested and put into the police car if they ask you any questions then you are considered in custody and they have to give you Miranda warnings but then at the hospital in terms of the blood test you don’t have any rights. Very messed up system in Pennsylvania so you must never answer any questions the police officer asks you other than biographical data. This avoids any issues.

Other than that, remain silent and ask for a lawyer.

If You Are Charged with a Criminal Offense, Call an Experienced Attorney Immediately

If you are charged with a DUI or other Criminal offenses, contact Manchester & Associates ASAP for a Free Strategy Session.  You will use this no-obligation Strategy Session to begin building your defense and have your legal options explained to you.

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