Miranda Rights

"If I had a nickel for every time a client thought they were NOT GUILTY because the police didn't read them the Miranda Warnings, I would be rich” Miranda Rights have become mainstream knowledge because people see them in movies, books, and television. Still, most people need clarification on the purpose of them. If a Law Enforcement Officer does not read someone their Miranda Rights, it may impact their case but it depends on many factors. Miranda Rights are a set of legal rights individuals must be informed of if they are taken into custody by law enforcement officers. Derived from the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, these rights protect against self-incrimination and include other important rights such as the right to remain silent, the right to legal counsel, the right to an attorney paid for by the state if an individual is unable to afford one, and the acknowledgment that anything one says can and will be used against them in a court of law. This blog provides an overview of what these rights mean, the impact that these rights may have on a case, and general knowledge about the correct procedure law enforcement officials must follow to ensure people are made aware of their constitutional rights and receive a fair legal process. The following information acts as a resource for introductory knowledge regarding the topic, however, we strongly recommend consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney to evaluate and discuss the specifics of your case fully.

Miranda v. Arizona

Miranda v. Arizona was a landmark United States Supreme Court case tried in 1966. This case involved a defendant named Ernasto Miranda, who was arrested by the Phoenix Arizona Police Department under suspicion of kidnapping and rape. Although Miranda confessed to the crimes he was accused of, he was never informed of his right to remain silent and have an attorney present for questioning. The central issue in the case involved the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination. The court concluded that the protections provided by the Fifth Amendment need to be articulated to a suspect if they are in custody and being interrogated. The court's decision in Miranda v. Arizona had a significant impact on the practices of law enforcement agencies and gave them a guideline on how to inform suspects of their rights.

Although the decision in Miranda v. Arizona improved how law enforcement agencies handle interrogation to ensure the accused are made aware of constitutional rights to protect themselves from self-crimination, criminal defense attorneys have continued to raise Miranda warning issues since the Supreme Court decided the outcome of this case nearly fifty years ago.

Fifth and Sixth Amendments

The Fifth Amendment provides important protections for people accused of a crime. The right against self-incrimination ensures people cannot be coerced into testifying against themselves in a criminal case. It gives people the right to remain silent so they do not provide incriminating information or evidence to Law Enforcement Agencies. By explicitly stating the right to remain silent, Miranda warnings protect individuals from being forced to give statements that may be used against them during trial. If statements were obtained without the proper reading of such rights, they may be deemed inadmissible as evidence in court.

The Sixth Amendment also relates to Miranda rights. The Sixth Amendment guarantees several rights to accused individuals, including…

1) The right to a speedy and public trial;

2) The right to a fair jury;

3) The right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation;

4) The right to confront your accuser; and

5) The right to compulsory process.

While the Sixth Amendment primarily focuses on protecting the rights of defendants in the trial phase of the criminal justice system, Miranda rights are primarily given during the pre-trial phase, such as during interrogation. However, both the sixth amendment and Miranda Rights work together to promise a fair legal process for the accused.

Exclusionary Rule

In Texas's Criminal Justice System and throughout the rest of the United States, exclusionary rules exist to govern the admissibility of evidence in court. Exclusionary rules determine whether evidence obtained in violation of constitutional rights, such as Miranda Rights, can be admissible in proceedings against a defendant. Exclusionary rules "safeguard" an individual's Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination by preventing coerced and involuntary confessions from being used against a defendant during trial in some circumstances. Although the exclusionary rule applies to statements obtained in violation of Miranda Rights, it does not necessarily apply to all evidence obtained under constitutional violations.

Terry Stop is not an arrest

A Terry Stop, also known as a "stop-and-frisk", is a brief investigative detention by law enforcement if they have reasonable suspicion that crime has been committed. While the stop is not officially considered an arrest, its purpose is to give Law Enforcement Officers the power to investigate suspicious circumstances.

The Process -

1) During a Terry stop, law enforcement officers may briefly detain individuals and conduct an official "pat-down" if they have reasonable suspicion that criminal activity has been committed.

2) The purpose of this "pat-down", or search of an individual's outer clothes is to search for weapons.

3) Although not officially considered an arrest, if a Terry stop escalates to an arrest or if the Officer is overly coercive, Miranda Warnings may have to be given. The determination of whether a Terry stop has evolved into official interrogation by law enforcement agencies is based on the length of detention, nature of questioning, and type of encounter.

What is “In Custody” for purposes of Miranda

Custody refers to situations where individuals are detained or arrested by law enforcement officers and are significantly deprived of their freedom of movement. A key factor in determining whether an arrest had occurred for Miranda purposes is whether the person is officially in custody or where a person in the suspect's position would not reasonably believe that they are free to leave and usually involves a substantial restraint on freedom of movement.

Anytime an individual is in custody by law enforcement officers, they are required to inform them of their Miranda rights prior to interrogating them.

What is interrogation for purposes of Miranda

In the context of Miranda rights, interrogation refers to questioning by law enforcement officers that is expected to elicit an incriminating response from an individual who is in custody. Official interrogation triggers the requirement for law enforcement to provide Miranda warnings before proceeding with questions. The determination of whether an interaction constitutes an interrogation is based on the unique circumstances of the encounter. Courts consider factors like the nature of questioning and context of the circumstance to determine if it is a true interrogation.

What is Res Gestae

Res Gestae refers to a doctrine allowing for the admission of statements or certain actions as evidence because they are considered part of the overall circumstances of an occurrence. It also allows for the inclusion of statements that are closely associated with an event and are considered to be "in-line" with that same event. These types of statements or acts often have a strong indicia of reliability and can be therefore be admissible.

How to handle police questioning

When faced with questioning by Law Enforcement Officers, it is important to understand your rights.

1) Stay Calm and Composed;

2) Understand your Miranda Rights;

3) Invoke the Right to Remain Silent;

4) Request an Attorney to Be Present During Questioning;

5) Do Not Waive Your Rights Without Understanding Potential Implications;

6) Be Aware of Both Verbal and Non-Verbal Forms of Communication;

7) Mentally Document the Encounter and/or Potentially Relevant Information;

8) Seek Legal Counsel to Guide you Through the Legal Process.

Conclusion -

The relationship between the 'Miranda Rights' and the 'Texas Department of Criminal Justice' is both complex and multifaceted - requiring ongoing adjustments and collaboration to ensure effective administration of both justice and inherent rights to the accused. Therefore, it is essential to meet with an experienced attorney to fully evaluate and discuss the unique circumstances of your case. McDaniel Law Group not only has extensive experience and expertise in Criminal Case Law, but also the support crucial for your legal matter. Our commitment to excellence sets us apart and makes us the right choice for any of your legal needs. For more information fill out a contact form on our website or call (469)-960-4067 to speak to our firm and schedule a consultation today.