Definition - What does Suspect mean?

Authorities classify someone as a suspect when they believe that person may have been involved in illegal activity. The classification is usually based on specific information obtained during a criminal investigation.

In the United States, all suspects can exercise specific rights during questioning, as long as it occurs while they are in custody.

Justipedia explains Suspect

The rights afforded to a suspect who is being interrogated while in custody include:

  • The right not to say anything
  • The right to seek legal advice
  • The right to be accompanied by an attorney during questioning
  • The right to stop answering questions at any time if they've agreed to cooperate
  • The right to free legal representation if they cannot afford to hire an attorney

Furthermore, in accordance with Miranda v. Arizona, suspects who have been taken into custody for questioning must be advised of these rights. They must also be informed that the information they provide during questioning can be used against them.

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