Miranda Warning Basics: What Every Dallas Driver Needs to Know

Most people are aware of the first few phrases of a Miranda warning. Through movies and television, the Miranda warning has become familiar to many Americans. This is true even though the general public is for the most part, wholly unaware of what a Miranda warning really is and when it should be used.

So, where did this Miranda warning come from? The Miranda warning originated after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling. With its holding in Miranda v. Arizona, the Court set forth the following guidelines:

  1. You have the right to remain silent;
  2. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law;
  3. You have the right to consult with a lawyer and have that lawyer present during the interrogation;
  4. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you;
  5. You can invoke your right to be silent before or during an interrogation, and if you do so, the interrogation must stop; and
  6. You can invoke your right to have an attorney present, and until your attorney is present, the interrogation must stop.

Keep in mind that Miranda warnings do not apply in all situations. In order for law enforcement to be required to issue a Miranda warning the suspect must be in police custody and be under interrogation.

Let me explain those two requirements in a bit more detail. First, police custody is defined as any time where the police have deprived you of your freedom of action in a substantial way. Generally, this means being arrested. Thus, an arrest needs to take place before the officer is required to give you a Miranda warning.

Second, police interrogation can be described as the time that an officer has begun asking you questions that could implicate involvement in a crime. This means that when an officer is asking you for identification, this is usually not considered interrogation.

Interrogation can stop and then start again. The Court has held that in some circumstances, however, the initial Miranda warning is valid for a later interrogation. For example, the Court has found that police did not have to give a suspect another Miranda warning even after two weeks had passed from the initial questioning.

Officers must give proper Miranda warnings. If an officer does not provide the suspect with the warning or fails to list all the rights of the suspect, there will be legal consequences. For example, if the officer omits the warning, nothing said by you in response to police interrogation can be used against you. Further, any evidence that systematically comes from the invalid interrogation will be deemed inadmissible.

There are also rules in place which regulate police interrogation practices. For instance, officers are prohibited from employing physical or psychological intimidation in order for you to make a statement.

There are a lot of policies and procedures related to criminal laws and proper police procedure. While it is unfortunate, law enforcement officers do not always follow the guidelines. It is in your best interest to work with an experienced attorney who will make sure that your rights are protected.