What if They Didn’t Read Me My Rights

By Allen, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Kyle T. Therrian
Office Number: (972) 562-7549
24 Hr Jail Release: (214) 403-6522


For anyone who watches any amount television police drama, you know that the police have to play by certain rules when investigating crime. Thanks to Jack McCoy and Lennie Briscoe, we all know that the police have to read us our Miranda rights when we get arrested. I knew long before going to law school that, if ever arrested, I had the right to remain silent, that anything I say could be used against me, that I have the right to an attorney, that one would be appointed if I could not afford one, etc. What I didn’t learn until becoming a lawyer is what happens if the police don’t read me my rights.

As many people know, the rights that we can claim against government authority are primarily laid out in the Bill of Rights. Things such as illegal searches, free speech, and the right to bear arms are all found in the Bill of Rights. Miranda rights, however, are not technically part of this document. Miranda rights were created by the U.S. Supreme Court in response to the rampant use by the police of overaggressive interrogation tactics which frequently resulted in people confessing to things they did not actually do. The U.S. Supreme Court declared that, prior to questioning of a person who is in police custody, these famous rights must be read to the suspect.

Obviously, rules are only effective when there are consequences for violating them. The Supreme Court and the State of Texas have determined that statements of the accused cannot be used in court when the Miranda Rule is violated. To use a football analogy, the Miranda Rule is like a holding penalty on a 99-yard touchdown: it doesn’t matter how many tackles you break or how elaborate your end-zone dance was–it’s coming back.

The biggest misconception about Miranda Rights is the belief that there is always some form of consequence when your rights were not read. Because Miranda Rights are only required before the police ask questions of a suspect who is under arrest, there are a number of scenarios where Miranda Rights don’t apply. Two of the more common scenarios include: (1) police questioning of a person before he or she is under arrest, and (2) statements made by a person who is under arrest not prompted by police questioning. Usually, the State will be allowed to use these kinds of statements against you without having to show that Miranda warnings were given.

More often than you would imagine, officers do place people under arrest and ask questions without giving Miranda warnings. This can happen because officers believe they have done such a thorough investigation that they don’t care if your statements will be admissible in trial or because they simply just forgot to do it.

Obviously this article is merely an overview of the basic issues regarding Miranda Rights. Because the consequences of violating Miranda are so severe, the law becomes exponentially more complex as you insert different facts. If you believe that your case involves a Miranda issue you should contact an attorney who can demand a hearing on your behalf.

*Kyle Therrian is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice on any case you should contact an attorney directly.

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