Law Office of Tim Powers
"I was arrested but the police did not read me my rights!"
As a criminal defense lawyer, I hear this complaint from many clients. This statement is usually followed by the question or assertion that because of this glaring omission on the part of the police officer, it should be easy for me to have their case dismissed.
Let me give you a bit of background on what these "rights" are, and where they came from, and then I will talk about why I usually have to inform my clients that we will have to find another ground to get their case dismissed.
First, the rights we are discussing are called the "Miranda Rights." This name came from the US Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. The facts of the case were that Ernesto Miranda was accused of the kidnapping and raping of an 18 year old girl. The police brought Miranda in for questioning where he then confessed to the crime. The US Constitution provides for certain rights to EVERY person arrested in our country. The framers of the Constitution had fears that the government could treat a person however it wished if it just accused that citizen of a crime. So, when they wrote the Constitution, they Framers decided to include the right of habeas corpus, the right to remain silent, and the right to have an attorney to advise an accused person.
At trial Miranda's lawyer raised the issue that his client had not been informed of his right to remain silent or to have an attorney present during the questioning. Up to this point in 1963, the police and courts had always interpreted the Constitution to say that although the accused had these rights, the police had no duty to tell them of their rights, that every accused was EXPECTED to know their rights on their own.
In 1966 the US Supreme Court issued it ruling in Miranda which sided with Miranda's argument that he should have been told of his rights before the police questioned him and therefore the Court threw out the confession.
Since the Miranda case, police officers must read an accused the Miranda warnings prior to an accused person making a confession or any statement that might implicate the accused in a crime. If the police fail to give the warning the remedy is that the confession is not able to be used. As in the Miranda case, although Miranda's confession was thrown out, he was still convicted of the crimes by other evidence. So a case does not get "dismissed" just because the rights were not read; only the confession to the crime is not allowed to be used.
Many times when my clients inform me that their rights were not read to them, it is a case where the police arrested and charged them with a crime based on evidence other than a confession. There is a big difference between being arrested and being questioned. The police do not need to read you the warnings to arrest you, only to ask you questions about the crime. The police also do not have to read the rights to a person who is not a suspect of a crime.
Here at the Law Offices of Tim Powers, located next to the Denton County Courthouse in Denton, Texas we offer a full range of criminal defense and legal services including DWI, drug crime defense, juvenile defense, probation violation, theft crime defense, violent and assault crime defense, white collar defense, expungement, and non-disclosure, etc. We are conveniently located next to the Denton County courthouse. Call our offices today and we can set an appointment with an attorney: 940.580.2899 or Tim Powers.com.
If you are seeking aggressive criminal representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney for your Denton County criminal case or arrest in Denton County, contact the offices of Tim Powers today. There is no charge or obligation for the initial consultation. 940.580.2899.
*Tim Powers is an attorney licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any specific legal question you should directly consult an attorney.