Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1970 NO. 2 >

(1) The provisions of the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution are applicable to any detention of a person for investigation of suspected criminal conduct irrespective of whether or not the detention amounts to an arrest or not; however, such a temporary detention is not a violation of the 4th Amendment if the officers acted upon specific and articulable facts which would "warrant a man of reasonable caution in the belief that the action taken was appropriate"; in other words, the officers may act on something less than "probable cause," but they may not act simply on the basis of good faith based upon nothing more substantial than "inarticulate hunches." (2) A police officer who has temporarily detained a person for investigation of suspected criminal conduct without making a formal arrest is not required to warn the detained person of his constitutional rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 486, 16 L.Ed. 2d 694, 86 S.Ct. 1602 (1966), until the initial suspicions which led the officer to make the "stop" are transformed into "probable cause" to believe the person confronted has committed an offense or until the suspect has a reasonable basis in fact to believe that he is under arrest (i.e., in custody of the police and not free to leave); at either of these points, the required warnings must be given in order to insure the admissibility in evidence of any incriminating statements thereafter made by the suspect.

AGO 1974 NO. 3 >

A person suspected of committing a crime must be warned of his constitutional rights as an individual under the rule of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 16 L.Ed. 2d 694, 86 S.Ct. 1602 (1966), before interrogation in those instances where, even though no formal arrest (with or without a warrant) has been made, the investigating officers have established in their minds a "probable cause" to believe that this person has committed a crime and have "focused in" on a further specific investigation of him on that basis.