Failure To Issue Miranda Rights

Most arrests in Denton can be frightening and overwhelming experiences for the people facing criminal charges. Many people can be prone to sudden outbursts, try to negotiate a release, or discuss facts about their cases during or after the arrests. 

All of these types of exclamations can then be used against a person during a criminal proceeding, but Miranda Warnings or Miranda Rights are designed to protect the accused in these circumstances. Miranda Rights generally inform people of the following rights:

  • The right to remain silent
  • The right to an attorney
  • The right to have a lawyer appointed for the alleged offender before any questioning

Failure of a law enforcement officer to read a person their Miranda Rights (or to Mirandize them) can have serious implications and affect a prosecutor’s case against the alleged offender. If you think law enforcement failed to read you your Miranda Rights during an arrest or before interrogation, you must be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Failure To Issue Miranda Rights Defense Lawyer in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, TX

If you were arrested or are being interrogated by the police, you do have rights. Whether you have actually committed a criminal offense or are accused of committing one, you still have the right to remain silent and are not required to answer any questions from police officers without an attorney being present.

An attorney should be by your side for legal counsel in these kinds of situations because, innocent or guilty, you always have the right to remain silent when a lawyer is not present. If you were arrested and the police failed to read you your Miranda rights, make sure to contact The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy at (940) 222-8004 for a consultation.

When Miranda Rights Are Required

Whether an interrogation occurs at a jail, at the scene of an alleged crime, on a busy downtown street, or in the middle of an open field, a person who is in custody and deprived of their freedom of action must still be read their Miranda rights. Police officers need to do this if they hope to ask questions and use any answers as evidence at trial.

When a person is not in police custody, then no Miranda warning will be required and anything the person says can still be used at trial. Police officers may avoid arresting people and stress that they are free to go precisely to avoid giving the Miranda warning. 

You do not have to respond to police questions when you have not been arrested. You also do not have to answer them even when you are under arrest.

A police officer cannot arrest somebody simply for failing to answer questions. Failure to give Miranda Warnings renders all subsequent statements inadmissible in court. 

Miranda Rights apply to “custodial interrogation,” and a defense attorney has the burden of proving that there was custodial interrogation that triggered the need for Miranda warnings. Interrogation involves any words or actions on the part of the police that they should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from an alleged offender. 

When determining whether an alleged offender was in custody under Miranda, a court will have to examine all of the circumstances surrounding an interrogation. The major inquiry will usually be whether there was a formal arrest or some restraint on freedom of movement to the degree associated with a formal arrest.

The test for custody is an objective one, both from an officer’s and the alleged offender’s perspective. An officer’s subjective intent to detain a person is not determinative, and no single factor is conclusive. 

The following are some factors that are among the ones likely to be relevant to deciding a question about custody: 

  • The language that was used to summon an alleged offender
  • The extent to which an alleged offender is confronted with evidence of guilt
  • The physical surroundings of an alleged offender’s interrogation
  • The duration of any alleged offender’s detention
  • The degree of pressure applied to detain the alleged offender

Handcuffing typically constitutes the type of custody that requires Miranda warnings before interrogation. A prosecutor will have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that an individual voluntarily waived their Miranda rights. 

Police officers cannot evade Miranda’s requirements by deliberately eliciting an unwarned confession first, then administering the warnings, and having the accused repeat the confession in the same interrogation session. An inadvertent failure to administer the warnings, however, will not prevent police officers from later warning the alleged offender and obtaining a waiver and confession.

Miranda Rights Exceptions

Common exceptions to the Miranda rule include:

  • Public safety. In New York v. Quarles, 467 US 649 (1984), the United States Supreme Court held that a police officer’s concern for public safety may justify a failure to give Miranda warnings. The case involved a woman who told police that a man with a gun had just raped her and had entered a nearby store. An officer spotted a man in the store matching the description the victim provided and caught the man, noticing he was wearing an empty gun holster. The officer handcuffed him and asked the man where the gun was. The man nodded in one direction and said, “The gun is over there.” The officer then retrieved it. The officer ultimately interrogated the man while he was in handcuffs and surrounded by four officers but did not read him his rights until after his statement. Lower courts ruled that the gun and the man’s statements about it were inadmissible, but the Supreme Court disagreed and created a public safety exception to the Miranda rule. 
  • Tangible evidence. In United States v. Patane, 542 U.S. 630 (2004), Samuel Patane was arrested in front of his home for calling his ex-girlfriend in violation of a restraining order. During the arrest, police officers began reading Patane his Miranda rights, but Patane told the officers that he already knew his rights and the officers stopped reading the rights. A detective asked Patane about a pistol and Patane told him that he had a gun in his house, which led to a police search of Patane’s house with his permission and the finding of the gun. Because he was a felon, Patane was not permitted to possess a gun and was prosecuted for possession. During the trial, Patane argued that his arrest violated the Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate oneself because there was no probable cause to arrest him and because the gun had been found as a result of an un-Mirandized confession. A district court initially ruled that there was no probable cause for Patane’s arrest and that it was, therefore, unconstitutional, but the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that Patane’s ex-girlfriend had given police probable cause for the arrest. However, the same panel also held that the gun could not be used as evidence because it had been found as the result of an un-Mirandized confession. The Supreme Court ruled that physical evidence obtained from un-Mirandized statements, as long as those statements are not forced by police, are constitutionally admissible, although the actual statements may not be.
  • Witness. In Michigan v. Tucker, 417 US 433 (1974), Thomas Wayne Tucker answered questions of police officers by stating that he did not want a lawyer and that he understood his constitutional rights. While police advised Tucker that any statements he might make could be used against him at a later date in court, they did not tell him that he, as an indigent, could be furnished counsel free of charge. During his interrogation, Tucker named an alibi witness whose later statements actually discredited Tucker’s account as to where he spent the night of the crime. The trial court denied Tucker’s motion to exclude the testimony of Henderson, who testified at the trial at which Tucker was convicted. The conviction was affirmed by both the Michigan Court of Appeals and by the Michigan Supreme Court. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted relief on the ground that Henderson’s testimony could not be admitted since the application of such an exclusionary rule was necessary to protect Tucker’s Fifth Amendment right against compulsory self-incrimination, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed. The United States Supreme Court ultimately held that the police’s failure to fully give the alleged offender his Miranda warnings only implicated the prophylactic standards of the warnings, and not the U.S. Constitution Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination that they were designed to protect. The Court noted that Tucker had been apprised of his right to counsel, that he had stated that he did not want an attorney, and that the only defect was the failure to inform Tucker that counsel would be provided free if he could not afford one. The Court held that this was not the same as the compulsory incrimination prohibited by the Fifth Amendment, which Miranda was designed to prevent. The Court held that this failure did not require the exclusion of evidence obtained as a result of the statement because Tucker’s statement was not involuntary.
  • Inevitable discovery. When police officers eventually find tangible evidence on their own, such evidence may be used against an alleged offender at trial even when the police actually found out about it during questioning that violated Miranda.

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Denton County Failure To Issue Miranda Rights Resources 

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) — This is a  landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in which the Phoenix Police Department arrested Ernesto Miranda based on circumstantial evidence that linked him to the kidnapping and rape of an 18-year-old woman 10 days earlier. Following two hours of interrogation by police officers, Miranda signed a confession to the rape charge on forms that included a typed statement stating: “I do hereby swear that I make this statement voluntarily and of my own free will, with no threats, coercion, or promises of immunity, and with full knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statement I make may be used against me.” Miranda was never told about his right to counsel, right to remain silent, or that statements he made during the interrogation would be used against him. Miranda was ultimately convicted of rape and kidnapping and was sentenced to up to 30 years imprisonment on each charge, and the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s decision to admit the confession because Miranda did not specifically request an attorney.

The Supreme Court, however, wrote that it began “with the premise that our holding is not an innovation in our jurisprudence, but is an application of principles long recognized and applied in other settings. We have undertaken a thorough re-examination of the [Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U. S. 478 (1964)] decision and the principles it announced, and we reaffirm it. That case was but an explication of basic rights that are enshrined in our Constitution—that “No person . . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” and that “the accused shall . . . have the Assistance of Counsel”—rights which were put in jeopardy in that case through official overbearing. These precious rights were fixed in our Constitution only after centuries of persecution and struggle.” The judgment of the Supreme Court of Arizona was reversed.

Vega v. Tekoh — Terrance Tekoh was tried for unlawful sexual penetration but he introduced evidence at trial that his confession was coerced and a jury ultimately found him not guilty. Tekoh then sued the police officer who questioned him, Deputy Carlos Vega, under 42 U.S Code Section 1983, claiming Vega violated his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by not advising him of his Miranda rights. Section 1983 allows people to sue government officials who subject them to constitutional violations for money damages. The 9th Circuit held Tekoh could bring a Section 1983 case. The United States Supreme Court heard arguments in this case on April 20, 2022, and has not yet issued a decision.

Find A Denton County Defense Attorney for Failure To Issue Miranda Rights | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

Were you arrested or interrogated by the police without being read your Miranda Rights? Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your alleged offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can aggressively defend you against any criminal charges. Call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online right now to receive a consultation.