If you have been charged with drug possession or distribution in the state of New York, law enforcement officers may want to ask you questions to find out more information about the crime they suspect you committed. They may want to know what drugs are in your possession, where you got the drugs, and the quantity you have. However, your answers to these questions may be self-incriminating and as a result, may help prosecutors build a case against you.
Law enforcement must read you your Miranda rights in custody
The Fifth Amendment protects people from self-incrimination by placing limits on police questioning. Before an officer can question someone in police custody, they must read them their Miranda rights. The officer must inform you of the following:
- Your right to remain silent.
- That anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
- Your right to an attorney.
- That an attorney will be appointed for you if you cannot afford one.
Many people facing drug charges feel obligated to answer police questions, but it is often in your best interest to state that you wish to remain silent and request an attorney. Once you have stated that you would like to remain silent, the officer must stop questioning you. If you waive your Miranda rights and begin answering questions without your attorney present, you may stop answering questions and request an attorney at any time.
If you were interrogated in police custody and the officer failed to read you your Miranda rights, anything you say may not be used as evidence against you.
What about during the arrest?
During an arrest, you are generally required to answer when asked your name, address, and other identifying information. The officer does not have to read you your Miranda rights at the time of the arrest. Therefore, anything you say during the arrest may be used against you later.
Law enforcement officers may make you feel like you have to answer any question they ask at any time. However, this is not the case. A criminal defense attorney can potentially use Fifth Amendment violations to defend you against the charges you face.