“You have the right to remain silent …”
Anyone who has watched television probably knows how the rest of that statement goes. But how much do you actually know about the Miranda Warning and your Miranda Rights? You likely have some misconceptions about when the police should read you your rights. You may be even more unsure about when officers have violated those rights.
Fortunately, criminal defense attorneys in Houston are well versed in the law and they stay up to date with the changes surrounding them. If you need help understanding what happened during a recent interaction with the police, a lawyer can advise you. In the interim, this article will give you some of the basic facts every citizen should know.
Ask a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer: Where Did the Miranda Rights Come From?
The Miranda Rights emerged from the outcome of a 1966 Supreme Court case called Miranda v. Arizona. In this landmark case, the defendant, Ernesto Miranda, confessed to robbery, kidnapping, and rape during a police interrogation. However, the conviction was overturned due to allegations of police intimidation. The court ruled that from then on, the police must formally warn suspects of their rights before a custodial interrogation. This includes notifying them that they have the right to remain silent and the right to be represented by counsel. This rule is included in Articles 38.21 and 38.22 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
When Do the Police Have to Read Me My Miranda Rights?
Contrary to what many think, officers only have to Mirandize you if they intend to interrogate you while you’re in custody. This means they can arrest you without giving the Miranda Warning. However, if they decide to interrogate you later, they must read you your rights then.
If you voluntarily go to a station to talk to the cops, they don’t have to warn you since you aren’t under arrest. It is not unusual for officers to make it seem like they just have a few simple questions for you. They may even say they want to help you to clear your name so you will willingly go with them. Since you won’t be considered to be in custody, there is no need to read you your rights.
This practice is common, but it is a contentious tactic. It is possible that things you say in such a situation may be used against you. If you admit to a crime, this will be presented in court. If you have concerns about whether your rights are being violated, you should ask for an attorney. A lawyer is best placed to argue as to whether the police are acting within the law or not.
How Criminal Defense Attorneys in Houston Advise Their Clients
Anytime you’re in the presence of police officers, you should assume that your statements and actions are being recorded. Even if you are innocent, you should politely refuse to answer questions unless you have an attorney present. Regardless of what the police may say, this is not a sign of guilt. Innocent people can incriminate themselves when they are intimidated or under pressure.
In cases where you waive your rights after you have been Mirandized, you can change your mind at any time. If you realize you are in over your head, you can tell the police you no longer want to answer questions. You can also say you’ve decided that you want to have an attorney present during questioning. The officers must stop questioning you at this point.
What to Do If Your Miranda Rights Were Violated
If the police violate your rights to avoid self-incrimination or have an attorney, the court can suppress your statements. This means the prosecution can’t use them against you in criminal prosecution. You will need a skilled Texas criminal attorney to file a motion on your behalf to suppress your statement. The court will hear the motion and the judge will make a decision.
If the judge finds that the police violated your rights, they will throw out your statement. Depending on the strength of the case against you, the state may have to dismiss the matter completely. Alternatively, the prosecutor may offer you an attractive plea bargain.
Contact the Attorneys at Eddington & Worley Today!
If you suspect your Miranda Rights were violated, let us at Eddington & Worley review your case. We will listen to your account of your arrest and interrogation and thoroughly probe the matter. If you were treated unlawfully, we will do everything we can to ensure you get justice. Call us today to schedule a consultation.