Your Miranda Rights and Being Detained at a Retail Location For Theft: Do They Apply?

Interviewer: You’re saying that personnel may attempt to question that person but you’re advising to say, “I don’t want to say anything until the police come or at least until I can get a criminal defense lawyer to represent me.”

It’s Your Right to Request An Attorney

Ladan Law: What I hear a lot is, “Hey, I was questioned by the security officer but he never read me my Miranda rights.” Miranda only applies to government agencies. He doesn’t have to read Miranda rights. In fact, what you say at that initial interview can be used against you.

It’s a good idea to respectfully decline to answer any questions, and to ask to have an attorney present. It’s very unlikely if they brought you back to the office that they’re going to release you anyway and it’s not their decision to make. If the law enforcement officer can’t make heads or tails of it, then there’s some chance that that officer will choose to issue a notice to appear or something similar to that.

If You Are Detained, Will You Be Arrested or Released?

Interviewer: Yes. In these kinds of cases, will you be taken into custody and arrested or will you just be cited and released?

Ladan Law: It really depends on the discretion of the officer. Often times, if this is a minor issue, the officer will issue a notice to appear, if it’s a misdemeanor. They’ve got the ability to do that if this misdemeanor occurred outside their presence. If they personally witnessed you taking something, they most likely will opt to take you into custody.

However, they do have the discretion not to do that if it’s just based on what the loss prevention officer says. It’s beneficial for you to be reasonably cooperative with the initial store personnel and officers but you also need to safeguard you’re right against incriminating yourself by making incriminating statements.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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