Miranda rights in the United States are highly misunderstood. Our Texas criminal defense lawyer explains what happens when they are not read.
Many people believe that they have a full understanding of the law regarding Miranda rights. This is largely due to the fact that television shows and movies often show defendants being read their Miranda rights. Legal knowledge, however, should never come from entertainment sources, as they often get the law wrong. A police officer’s failure to read the Miranda rights, also known as the Miranda warning, is not enough to make an arrest illegal. Below, our Texas criminal defense lawyer explains what happens if you are not read your rights.
What are Miranda Rights?
There are four basic rights included in the Miranda warning. They are:
- The right to remain silent,
- Anything that is said can be used against a defendant in a court of law,
- The right to have a lawyer present during questioning, and
- The right to a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford one.
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that Miranda rights on their own are not constitutional rights. Instead, they are intended to protect other rights such as the Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment. As such, individuals cannot sue police or other government entities simply because they were not read their Miranda rights.
Does a Failure to Read Miranda Rights Constitute an Illegal Arrest?
Contrary to what many people believe, if police fail to read a suspect their Miranda rights, it does not automatically constitute an illegal arrest. As such, criminal charges are not dropped or dismissed based on a lack of reading the Miranda rights. However, when police fail to read a suspect their Miranda rights, the prosecution cannot generally use statements a defendant told police in court. This can greatly damage a case and result in a lack of evidence that can get charges dropped or dismissed.
When are Miranda Rights Required?
Law enforcement officers are not required to read a person their Miranda rights every time they want to question them. The Miranda rights must only be read when police have someone in custody. Being in police custody means you are not free to leave. For this reason, police officers often try to question people they suspect of committing a crime without arresting them. In fact, police officers will often tell suspects that they are free to leave.
In these instances, if someone makes incriminating statements, they can be used against the person in the future because they were not technically in custody. You always have the right to remain silent. Other than providing identification and other basic information, it is typically best to wait until you have legal representation before answering any questions from law enforcement.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Texas Can Protect Your Rights
If you have been charged with a crime and the officer failed to read you your rights, it is imperative that you speak with our Texas criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible. At Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC, our experienced attorneys will aggressively defend your rights and prepare a strategy for moving forward that will give you the best possible outcome. Call us now at (210) 222-9132 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.