Any police procedural fan knows that anytime a suspect is arrested, they must be read their Miranda rights—the speech that starts out with “you have the right to remain silent.” However, many people don’t fully understand what their Miranda rights are, and what they mean in Lubbock, TX.
The Miranda warning
The Miranda warning comes from a 1966 Supreme Court case which examined the fifth amendment right against self-incrimination—basically, you can’t be forced by the government to admit your guilt.
If you are arrested, the police will read you your rights, which will sound something like this:
“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 an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
The Miranda warning is designed to let suspects know that they’re not required to self-incriminate by answering officers’ questions. If you don’t want to talk to the police (and you shouldn’t—you should always have an attorney present), you need to affirmatively say, “I don’t want to talk to you, and I want an attorney.” The police are required by law to immediately halt all questioning until you have a lawyer present.
If you choose to waive your Miranda rights, the waiver must be “knowing, voluntary and intelligent.” That means you must understand which rights you’re waiving and the consequences of doing so, and the police cannot force you to waive these rights.
Sometimes police arrest a suspect and don’t read them their Miranda rights, or their detention becomes so lengthy it becomes a de facto arrest. While usually not enough to get the entire case dismissed, a Miranda violation may lead to the suppression of illegally-obtained evidence or confessions.
Perhaps if the only evidence against you was a confession during an illegal interrogation, you might be able to get the case dismissed—but that’s a rarity. Still, lawyers and judges take Miranda violations very seriously, and will do their best to throw out any evidence in violation of your Miranda rights. You can expect that if the police obtain evidence through a Miranda violation, they’ll still act upon the information they got from you in order to investigate the case, but they won’t be able to use it in a criminal trial.
Finally, there is a Miranda exception in cases where there’s a great danger to public safety, such as an active shooter. If you’re arrested in that situation, affirmatively state that you want an attorney and will not be speaking to the police.
When you need an experienced criminal defense attorney, call The Law Office of Rob Biggers. We bring our West Texas values to everything we do, including defending your case from start to finish. For more information about your Miranda rights, reach out to us or visit our Lubbock, TX office today.
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