If you have seen an episode of Law and Order or any other legal drama, you have heard police officers recite the Miranda rights. What you may not know is precisely what your Miranda rights are and what role they play during an arrest in Dallas, Texas.
What Are Your Miranda Rights?
Miranda rights refer to the formal warning about an individual’s constitutional rights given by police to suspects in custody before an interrogation. It is based on the 5th amendment’s protection from self-incrimination and the 6th amendment’s right to an attorney. The Miranda rights came about after a 1966 Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona when the court came to the realization that your constitutional rights don’t mean much if you don’t know that you have them. Texas codified the Miranda warnings in Article 38.21 and 38.22 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
The police don’t have to follow any exact wording when they give you your Miranda rights. Instead, the Miranda warning must contain the following information:
- You have the right to remain silent;
- Any statement you make may be used against you as evidence in court;
- You have the right to consult with your attorney before and during questioning;
- If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will provide you with one at no cost; and
- You have the right to change your mind and stop answering questions at any time.
Before questioning can begin, you must affirmatively acknowledge that you understand these rights. The police cannot interpret silence as an acknowledgment. Any statement that you make must be given freely and voluntarily.
When Must the Police Read You Your Miranda Rights?
Many people think that the police must read you your Miranda rights at the time of your arrest. This is not necessarily true. The police only have to tell you your Miranda rights before questioning if you are in custody. If you are not under arrest, you are not in custody, and the officers do not need to Mirandize you before asking you any questions.
The police can ask you for identifying information, such as name, date of birth, and address, without informing you of your Miranda rights.
Should You Speak to the Police After You Are Arrested?
If you are arrested, you should resist the urge to explain yourself. You should politely refuse to speak to the officer until after your attorney is present. If you answer questions or volunteer information, these statements can be used as evidence against you in court. Exercising your right to remain silent and not speak to the police cannot be used as evidence of your guilt in court.
If you are unsure whether or not you have been arrested, you can ask the officer whether you are free to leave. Sometimes police may try to frame a conversation as “helping you to clear your name” as a way to get information before arresting you. If you talk to the police in these circumstances, you are putting yourself in jeopardy because any volunteered information can be used against you in court.
What Happens If the Police Do Not Read You Your Miranda Rights?
If the police failed to issue a Miranda warning before a custodial interrogation, your attorney can file a motion to suppress your statements. If the court grants the motion to suppress, none of the statements you made to the police can be used against you. Additionally, any evidence that the police found only because of your statements cannot be used against you. This motion could lead to lesser charges or your case being dismissed.
However, the police do not need to warn you not to say anything incriminating in their presence. If you speak unprompted in the police car to the station or any time before interrogation, the police do not need to read you your Miranda rights. What you say outside of a custodial interrogation can be used against you, even if you were not informed of your rights.
Speak to an Experienced Frisco Attorney
You should immediately reach out to a local Frisco criminal defense attorney if you believe your Miranda rights have been violated. Philip D. Ray is an experienced criminal attorney and former prosecutor who will provide you with a skilled and aggressive defense. He has years of experience defending individuals in Frisco, Texas. Call The Law Offices of Philip D. Ray today at (214) 845-7987 for a consultation.