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What are the procedural steps the police are required to take once one begins to incriminate oneself in an investigation?


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Police officers will not often stop someone from incriminating themselves. Officers provide Miranda warnings to people in custody letting them know they have the right "not" to incriminate themselves, but people can choose (unwisely) to keep talking if they want to. If police have given Miranda warnings to someone in...

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custody, the person can then invoke their right to remain silent. In a court proceeding, silence cannot be used as evidence of guilt. However, this does not stop a police officer from recognizing a person is about to incriminate themselves and then reminding the person, "You remember you have the right to remain silent?" Officers want statements though, so this is not a common practice.

Miranda warnings can apply to people not officially "in custody" as well. In an article, "Invoking Your Right to Remain Silent," Michael Schwartzbach states,

. . . the law doesn’t require interrogating police officers to 'Mirandize' someone who isn’t technically 'in custody.' As a result, police officers routinely question suspects after carefully letting them know that they are not under arrest and are free to leave—that way, officers don’t have to provide Miranda warnings.

In this situation, a person should ask, "Am I free to leave?" If the police say "yes," then the person can leave. If police forget to provide the Miranda warning to someone either in or out of official custody, it is up the person being questioned to know their rights and say, “I invoke my privilege against self-incrimination and I wish to speak to a lawyer."

Ultimately, police want to get a confession, so they most likely will not stop someone from incriminating themselves. People need to know their rights and make the wisest choice.

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Police are under no obligation to stop one from incriminating ones self as long as one is aware of one's right to remain silent. For that reason, police routinely inform a person of his rights as soon as the person's liberty is restricted. Spontaneous or excited utterances are not excluded simply because the police did not have time or opportunity to warn one. After Miranda warnings have been issued, anything--literally--that one says can be introduced as evidence of guilt.  Also, police are not obligated to give Miranda warnings until one is held in custody--that is one may not leave of one's own volition. If the conversation with police is merely routine questions, name, etc. and one blurts out incriminating evidence, then the police should advise one of one's rights under Miranda but don't have to tell him to be quiet.

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