Custodial questioning describes a condition in which your freedom of movement is restricted while you are being interrogation even though you may not be necessarily under arrest. Clarifying whether you were under custodial questioning is important because it determines whether your Miranda rights should have been read to you first. Here are some of the factors that can help define custodial questioning:
Location of Questioning
Some places are more intimidating than others, and being questioned in such places can strengthen the claim of coercion. For example, it is easy to be intimidated if you are being questioned in a place where you don't feel free, such as the police station. In fact, those who don't have experience dealing with the criminal justice system even thing that they are under arrest the moment they are taken to a police station, and it is easy to coerce such people into confessions.
Duration of Questioning
The court is likely to agree that you were coerced if you were interrogated for an unusually long time. This is because most people first try to resist police questions before finally giving up when they are coerced. Therefore, it will be difficult to prove coercion if the questioning took a few minutes, but the odds increase if you were questioned for several hours.
The issue of age comes into question because the young are more easily intimidated than adults. This is because the young are usually inexperienced as far as dealing with the police is concerned. Also, the relative immaturity of young people also makes them more susceptible to police tricks.
Your health at the time of questioning will also determine whether you were coerced or not. This is because if you are sick and weak, you are likely to give up quickly and confess to your alleged crime than if you are in perfect health. For example, if you have migraines and the police are badgering you with questions, you may confess just so that they can leave you alone.
Whether You Initiated the Conversation
Lastly, the court will also look into who initiated the conversation that led to the confession. In cases of coercion, it is usually the interrogator who initiates the conversation and pressures the suspect into confession. Therefore, you will have a hard time convincing the court that you were coerced if you initiated the conversation.
Whether or not the police infringed on your Miranda rights is important because it may determine how your criminal case proceeds henceforth. Explain the circumstances of your interrogation to your criminal lawyer so that they can help you determine whether you were under the police's custody or not. Contact a firm, like Cohen Law Offices LLC, for more help.