Dark room interviewThis is the next post in a series of articles focused on defending against domestic violence charges in Peoria, Illinois. The previous post reviewed how causing serious physical injury to a victim or the involvement of a weapon may lead to enhanced criminal charges and penalties. It also emphasized the importance of retaining a lawyer with a background in criminal defense to represent your interests. This article will discuss another common issue that arises in domestic violence cases: violations of an accused’s Miranda rights. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a Peoria defense attorney.

The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution provides that anyone in police custody be notified of their right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present while being questioned. Commonly known as Miranda rights, these warnings must be given to a person when they are “in custody”.  It is important to note that one is often in custody before an arrest occurs. Rather, one is in custody at the moment in time an average reasonable person in the same situation would not feel free to leave. If a suspect is being held in the back of the police car with the doors closed, for example, that person would likely be considered to be in police custody. Once in police custody, self-incriminating statements made prior to being given Miranda warnings, may be excluded from evidence.

When responding to domestic violence calls, police very often separate the parties and interview them about the alleged events. During the interviews, the police will question those present in an attempt to corroborate the various parties’ stories. One can imagine a circumstance in which a suspect willingly speaks to the police, making an incriminating statement that leads to his arrest. For example, after responding to a neighbor’s call reporting a fight next door, the police separate a girlfriend and boyfriend into separate police cars for questioning without providing any Miranda warnings. She accuses him of hitting her. When he is asked if he hit her, he says yes and is arrested. He did not reveal that she had shoved, punched, and threatened him repeatedly during their fight before he responded to defend himself. His defense counsel will likely file a motion to exclude the statements made by the defendant while in the police car because they were given in violation of his Miranda rights. If the police have no other evidence against him, then the domestic violence charges may be dismissed or the defendant’s chances of defending the charges may be increased. In each case, the outcome will be dependent upon the specific facts of the situation. An experienced criminal attorney can help identify whether a Miranda violation occurred and a potential defense is available.

If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is important to retain a Peoria defense attorney to represent your interests. My firm is experienced in criminal law matters and dedicated to providing the highest level of service to our clients. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer. My office also represents clients in Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. We also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.