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Articles Posted in Miranda Rights

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Your child is accused of breaking the law while at school. The police arrive and begin questioning your child. Using interrogation tactics, police coerce your child into confessing to a crime he or she did not actually commit.

How can this happen? Unfortunately, minors don’t have all the same rights as adults. However, a law that took effect on January 1, 2018 amended Welfare and Institutions Code Section 625.6 to give minors under 16 years old a chance to better understand the rights that they do have. The law hopes to curtail the amount of false confessions given by minors.

What are Miranda Rights?

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When you are placed under arrest, you have certain rights. One of the most important rights you have is the right to remain silent. However, police will sometimes try to take advantage of you so that you fail to exercise this right. But what happens if you did not know you had the right to remain silent? Can what you say be used against you even if police failed to inform you of your rights?

When False Confessions Lead to Convictions

police interrogation skillsA recent case involved the issue of a coerced confession and the right to remain silent. In this case, the driver of a vehicle allegedly exited his car and shot to death a person standing on the street while yelling out the name of a gang. Over the course of two days, a 15-year-old suspect was interrogated for hours at a time by police, who told the suspect a series of lies, made serious threats and empty promises in an attempt to get him to confess. During this time, he was never advised of his Miranda Rights.

The suspect confessed to the crime after investigators administered a polygraph test and told him that he had failed. After his confession, the suspect finally was advised of his Miranda Rights, and he repeated his confession.

At trial, the court found the confession that occurred immediately after the polygraph test was invalid because the suspect was placed in custody but was never read his Miranda Rights. However, the judge refused to suppress the second confession. The suspect was convicted of first degree murder with gang and firearm enhancements. He was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

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California Gov. Jerry Brown has until mid-October to act on a bill that would require law enforcement to videotape interrogations of minors suspected or accused of murder. SB 569, which was introduced by Sen. Ted Lieu, is aimed at protecting minors from being coerced into confessions by investigators and reducing the chances of wrongful convictions. The bill recently won the approval of the state Assembly and the Senate. If you or your child was intimidated into a confession, it is important to retain an experienced California criminal defense attorney who can help you prove that the confession was made not reliable.

Benefits of Videotaping Interrogations

interrogation.jpgProponents of the bill argue that minors act more impulsively during investigations and are not fully aware of the consequences they face. They are more likely to confess because they are submissive to authority figures. The Innocence Project reviewed the 311 post-conviction DNA exonerations in U.S. history and found that in 25 percent of them, the defendant made incriminating statements, confessed to the crime or pled guilty. A study conducted by the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology in 2003 found that 55 percent of false confessions during interrogations came from juvenile defendants.

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California%20Criminal%20Defense%20Attorneys%20888-280-6839.jpg It is never a good idea to speak to the police without a lawyer. Many people incorrectly believe that the police have to read you your “Miranda rights” before they question you. However, what many people do not understand is that the formal Miranda warnings are only required if two prerequisites are met. Before the police must issue a Miranda warning to a suspectin a criminal process:

1. The suspect must be in police custody 2. The suspect must be subject to an interrogation

There is a major issue when a suspect voluntarily shows up at the police station for questioning. Investigators and detectives are well-trained on extracting any and all incriminating information from you. Detectives are permitted to lie and deceive in order to extract a confession. No suspect should make statements to police without an experienced criminal defense attorney by their side.

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When it comes to “Miranda Warnings” the basics are simple: Any time you are legally “in custody” and authorities wish to question you, the following must first be advised:

(1) You have the right to remain silent (2) Anything you say can be used against you (3) You have the right to an attorney (4) If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.

In October, a California Court of Appeal in People v. Gonzalez clarified when authorities can and cannot ask questions to a suspect after the suspect has invoked his Miranda rights.

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Many people who are accused of a crime ask our law firm if they can have their charges dismissed because the police didn’t advise them of their “Miranda rights”. The answer in most cases is no.

The “Miranda warnings” must be given by the police to a suspect who is in “custody” prior to the police questioning them about their possible involvement in criminal activity. The police are very clever as to how they get around the requirement to issue Miranda warnings while still finding a way to obtain statements from those accused of crimes.

The police will often call a possible suspect on the phone and speak to them. They do not have to read you Miranda rights over a phone conversation because you are not “in custody”. This means if you make the very bad mistake to speak to the police on the phone those statements can be used against you in a court of law.

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The case before the United States Supreme Court dealt with whether a 13-year-old boy should have been notified of his “Miranda” rights. Including telling him he need not answer questions before being questioned by police officers. The boy was suspected of committing several burglaries. After first denying any involvement, the minor admitted breaking into several homes and stealing items.

The United States Supreme Court’s decision in the Miranda case established that suspects in custody must be advised of various rights, including the right to remain silent before police officers can begin questioning. If Miranda warnings are not given, any statements that the suspect makes to law enforcement may be excluded from evidence.

In California, burglary is codified under Penal Code Section 459. It states in pertinent part that “every person who enters any house… with intent to commit… any felony is guilty of burglary.” Residential burglary is a felony in Califronia, and may result in a strike, if convicted. The punishment for residential burglary in California is up to six years in prison.

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45939520_3789d101c5_zMany people who are arrested for DUI in Riverside complain that the arresting officer never read them their Miranda Rights and ask whether they can get the case thrown out because of this. In order to understand the answer to this question you first must understand what the Miranda rule is and when it applies in a criminal case.

The Miranda rule only comes into play when two things happen.

  • You are in custody. ( A reasonable person in your shoes would not feel free to ignore the police presence and go about their business).
  • You are being interrogated. (asked questions likely to elicit an incriminating response).

When you are pulled over and a DUI investigation begins one of the first questions the cop will ask is if you’ve been drinking or how much you have-clearly a question likely to elicit an incriminating response so you are being interrogated and the application of the Miranda rule is halfway there.

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Once a vehicle stop has been made and a DUI investigation has commenced, the issue arises as to when a DUI suspect is “in custody” for purposes of the landmark case Miranda v. Arizona. The Miranda Court repeatedly made clear that “by custodial interrogation, we mean questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.”

For purposes of Miranda, it would seem clear that a motorist has been deprived of his or her freedom of action in a significant way, and thus is in custody, when a police officer conducts an investigation. DUI investigations include (a) pulling the motorist over, (b) seizing the motorist’s driver’s license and registration, (c) questioning the motorist, (d) ordering the motorist to exit the vehicle, and (e) demanding that the motorist remain outside the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests, and so on. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has held that in the absence of extraordinary circumstances, such a detention does not constitute custodial interrogation, and thus is not protected by the Fifth Amendment and Miranda.

In order to make sure that your rights are accurately and aggressively defended after being charged with DUI in Southern California, you should contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense law firm of Wallin & Klarich. Our attorneys have been helping those accused of crimes for more than 30 years. Wallin & Klarich has the legal resources and knowledge to assist you in obtaining a successful outcome. Call Wallin & Klarich today at 888-280-6839 or visit www.wklaw.com to find out more about how we can help.

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The simple answer is because there are some cops that will violate your rights because they refuse to follow the law. However, other police officers will violate your rights because they know that the conservative majority on the United States Supreme Court will likely support their conduct. Let me give you just one quick example of how recent court decisions have given the police more power to violate your rights when you are stopped or arrested.

Many years ago the US Supreme Court decided People vs. Miranda and in that decision the court made it clear that before law enforcement could question you they had to read you your “right to remain silent and right to a lawyer”. You had the right to tell the officers you didn’t want to speak to them. However, over the past two decades the Miranda decision has lost most of its legal impact due to the more conservative current Supreme Court wiping away many of the protections of Miranda.

The more recent Miranda rulings state that unless you are 100% perfectly clear that you want a lawyer, then Miranda doesn’t protect you. Case after case has come down on the side of law enforcement in situations where a “reasonable person” would clearly see that the suspect was asking for a lawyer but the courts have said, ‘Sorry, the admission or confession comes in, because the accused was not “clear enough’.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.