You’re on your usual commute when suddenly, flashing lights flicker in your rearview mirror. Next thing you know, you’re being handcuffed by the roadside and arrested.
It’s a chilling scenario, isn’t it?
That’s why learning about your Miranda Rights is worth the effort. Understanding your Constitutional Rights can be the game-changer for your defense should you ever be in such a predicament.
We previously went over Miranda Rights as is relates to DWI accidents in another post. This post is about Miranda Rights in general.
Know Your Miranda Rights
What exactly are Miranda Rights?
Miranda Rights stem from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona, which occurred back in 1966. Miranda rights ensure that you’re aware of your protections as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
But what do they say, exactly? Typically, you’ll hear something along these lines:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you.”
These might seem like straightforward sentences, but there’s lots of Constitutional protections embedded within them.
The Right to Remain Silent
The 5th Amendment
Remaining silent is often a smart option. It’s easy to feel pressured into defending yourself on the spot, but that can sometimes do more harm than good. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects you from self-incrimination. Your right to remain silent embodies this concept.
What does this mean for you?
If you’re arrested in Texas, you have the right to stop answering questions at any time. By taking advantage of this right you can make sure that your own words don’t unwittingly trap you. Remember, anything you say can indeed be used against you.
Silence is often golden.
The Right to Legal Counsel
The 6th Amendment
This is another fundamental set of rights that’s guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
The 6th Amendment provides the right to legal counsel.
If you’re arrested, having a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney by your side can significantly affect the outcome of your case. This right ensures you have the chance to consult with a legal professional, regardless of your financial situation.
When do Your Miranda Rights Apply?
Contrary to what TV shows might have led you to believe, law enforcement officers aren’t required to read you your Miranda Rights the moment they arrest you. Instead, these rights come into play when you’re both in custody and being interrogated.
If police aren’t asking questions, Miranda Rights don’t apply. If you start volunteering information, Miranda Rights don’t apply. If you start talking in the back of the police car, they’re recording you. Again, Miranda Rights don’t apply.
Custody & Interrogation: A Critical Intersection
Being in “custody” doesn’t always mean you’re handcuffed in the back of a police car.
It applies to any situation where your freedom of movement is restrained to the degree associated with formal arrest.
On the other hand, an “interrogation” occurs when law enforcement officers ask questions or take actions that they should know are likely to elicit an incriminating response.
Only when these two conditions – custody and interrogation – occur simultaneously do your Miranda Rights need to be read to you. If law enforcement didn’t inform you of your Miranda Rights, your attorney can challenge the admissibility of any statements or confessions you make.
Understanding Miranda Waivers in Texas
While your Miranda Rights are there to protect you, you can waive them if you choose to do so voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently. Be sure that you fully understand what you’re giving up.
Waiving your Miranda Rights means you’re agreeing to speak with law enforcement without an attorney present. You’re also acknowledging that anything you say can be used against you. However, you can invoke your rights at any point, even if you’ve initially waived them.
Remember: You’re Not Alone
Tad Nelson & Associates Is Here to Help
You don’t have to deal with the complexities and trickery associated with the criminal justice system on your own. As a criminal defense attorney dedicated to help individuals like you, it’s my job to make sure your rights are protected at every step.
I’m Tad Nelson, a Board Certified® Criminal Law Attorney that has practiced law in the Greater Houston area since 1991.
Remember, if you’re ever in a situation where your freedom is on the line, your knowledge of your Miranda Rights can make a significant difference. And when you need someone to stand up for you, I’ll be here to help.
If you need to talk with the defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today. We can be reached at 713-802-1631. We operate law offices in Houston, League City, and Galveston. Call us or send a message to us using our attorney contact form.