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What constitutes a violation of someone’s Miranda rights?

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2024 | Felony Crimes

Police officers are technically agents of the state. They are in a position to misuse their authority and actively harm members of the public. Many laws, including federal constitutional protections, limit the conduct of Texas police officers.

The Fourth Amendment protects people from both unreasonable searches and inappropriate seizures of their private property, while the Fifth Amendment protects people from forced self-incrimination. The Miranda warning exists due to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fifth Amendment decades ago.

Police officers sometimes have an obligation to verbally notify individuals of their rights during an encounter with the police. Many people arrested in Texas believe that police have violated their Miranda rights. Sometimes this is the case, and sometimes it isn’t. What actually constitutes a Miranda violation?

What the media shows isn’t fully accurate

The reason why so many people mistakenly believe they have experienced a Miranda violation is due to how they have seen the Miranda warning represented in popular media. Movies and television shows take everyday scenarios and make them as dramatic as possible. Dramatic courtroom outbursts are quite rare in the real world but they factor heavily into most media depictions of criminal trials.

Similarly, what the media shows about the Miranda warning may give people improper expectations during an interaction with law enforcement. Movies and television shows often depict police officers providing the Miranda warning at the moment that they arrest someone. This may lead to defendants assuming that a Miranda violation occurred if they did not receive the warning at the time of their arrest.

However, the Miranda warning is not necessary when arresting someone. It is instead necessary before the police question someone who is already in state custody to help them avoid compelled self-incrimination. Someone under arrest and subject to questioning should hear about their Miranda rights before the questioning starts.

If police officers failed to inform them about the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation before an interrogation, that could constitute a Miranda violation. If police officers question someone without first informing them of their Miranda rights, a defense attorney could potentially exclude the evidence gathered during the questioning from criminal proceedings.

Many defendants are uncertain of their rights and the best defense strategy given their circumstances. Reviewing the state’s case with a Texas defense attorney can help someone validate whether or not a violation of their rights has actually occurred.