Does it Matter if They Read my Miranda Rights for my DWI in Texas?
Oct. 25, 2015
When you are pulled over for a DWI in Texas, there are several factors you will have to take into consideration. The first of these is talking with the officer. In many cases you may not be read your Miranda Rights.
The popular notion – gleaned from TV shows – is that if you are not read your Miranda Rights, then any evidence collected is inadmissible. Despite popular perception, this is not always the case, and in many instances most evidence can still be used against you. In Texas, your Miranda Rights apply to very specific situations in terms of what types of evidence can be collected.
Here is a brief overview of what your Miranda Rights actually entail and why you should always hire a criminal lawyer in Dallas if you are charged with a DWI or drug possession case.
Miranda Rights in Texas
In Texas, you must be read your Miranda Rights – if you are taken into custody – for any statements you make under interrogation to be admissible in court as evidence. Also, Texas law specifically states that the reading of your Miranda Rights and your acceptance or “waiving” of your Miranda Rights has to be recorded in either video, audio or written formats.
If you choose to exercise your Miranda Rights, you do not have to answer any questions without legal counsel present to advise you prior to and during any questioning by the police. By waiving your rights and agreeing to answer questions, anything you say can legally be used as evidence in court. Also, be aware that anything you say without being prompted or questioned about by the police is also admissible in a court proceeding.
In essence, this means you can invoke your Miranda Rights and not answer any direct questions posed to you by law enforcement, but if you make any “off the cuff” remarks that relate to your case, those statements are valid as evidence against you.
Where Miranda Rights Do Not Apply
The law in Texas is very specific about when and where Miranda Rights apply. In general, the police must read your Miranda Rights if you are “in custody,” which has a very specific legal meaning. For example, if you are stopped by a police officer for speeding, he smells alcohol on your breath, and he asks if you have been drinking, the police officer is not required to read you your Miranda Rights because you are not “in custody,” you are simply being “temporarily detained.”
Questions about where you are coming from, where you are going to, and other exploratory questions are permissible. However, once the officer restrains you to the point associated with a formal arrest (such as placing handcuffs on you and not allowing you to leave the area), he is required to read you your Miranda Rights before questioning you. If he does not, none of your statements in response to his questions can be used against you.
Also, Miranda Rights only apply to verbal statements - they do not apply to your actions or evidence found in your possession. For example, if you are found with alcoholic beverages in your automobile, Miranda Rights do not protect you from this being used as evidence as they are physical items and not a verbal statement.
The same is also true of your actions. For example, if you are falling down, slurring your words or throwing up due to intoxication, this is admissible as evidence in court. Note this also applies to blood samples taken for testing purposes and, as noted above, any information you willingly volunteer without being prompted is also admissible.
Does the Failure to Be Read Your Miranda Rights Allow You to Have a Case Dismissed?
Sometimes an officer’s failure to read a defendant their Miranda Rights can leave the prosecutor without enough evidence to prove their case, and can result in a dismissal of the case. However, it does not automatically result in a dismissal. If an officer fails to read you your Miranda Rights, it does limit what law enforcement can legally collect as evidence. Any questions you were asked and any information they gained through interrogation is inadmissible unless you have received (and waived) your Miranda Rights.
That said, the case itself cannot be thrown out on this basis. Also, while your testimony may be inadmissible in such a situation, any physical evidence, records of your actions and statements you made unprompted, are still legally admissible as evidence in a court proceeding.
Hire a Lawyer
If you have been arrested for DWI, drug possession, or any other criminal offense do not make statements to police without consulting a criminal lawyer in Dallas. The attorneys at Chad West Law understand the stress that a criminal charge brings you. With so many elements of your life – both professional and private – being affected by such a charge, you need professional assistance and legal guidance.
We know, you have a variety of options for a criminal lawyer in Dallas, but when hiring legal counsel you need someone who truly understands and respects your legal situation. At Chad West Law, we have spent years helping people just like you get the legal protection they are entitled to under law. Know your rights, and if you are charged in a criminal case contact us today!