Pre Vs. Post-Arrest Questioning

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What’s the difference between pre-arrest and post-arrest questioning?

In pre-arrest situations, no Miranda Warning is issued if the person is not under arrest. They aren’t going to trial for a crime so there is no need to issue a warning. Sometimes during questioning, Miranda Rights will be read if the police feel the suspect’s interrogation has reached a point where they feel he or she is incriminating themselves. This protects the suspect’s rights as well as the police’s ability to use that testimony in court.

In post-arrest situations, the police must read the Miranda Rights so the defendant fully understands his or her rights: the right to remain silent if so wished, and the right to hire an attorney. These are two huge rights – by remaining silent and hiring a lawyer, the suspect will have a better case in court with a professional to defend them. Suspects may waive these rights and speak with the police freely. But any time during this free questioning they may decide to stay silent and wait for a lawyer. Questioning will cease until the lawyer is present.