The police never read me my rights!

First, you should understand what your rights are, and then we can discuss why the police did not read them to you.

You do not have to wait for Miranda warnings to remain silent or ask for a lawyer!

In Texas you only have to ID yourself if you are detained. If you are driving you have to provide proof of insurance. Beyond that you can remain silent, ask for a lawyer, refuse to answer any questions and ask “am I free to go” and “am I being detained?” If you want to say something say “I choose to remain silent until I can speak with a lawyer.” You do not have to answer any questions beyond identifying yourself. That means you don’t have to wait for the police to Mirandize you before you ask for a lawyer and quit talking. I will say that not cooperating will make most LEO’s angry, and they will threaten to arrest you or get in your face and yell at you about how bad it will be if you don’t talk, but it’s all a show to intimidate you. Just remain calm and keep quiet. If you need to say something ask for a lawyer, and ask if you are free to go. Rinse, repeat.

That being said, the police are only required to Mirandized you when you are in custody and being interrogated. That is what we call a custodial interrogation.

Who is considered in custody? 

You are in custody when you are either formally arrested or when you are detained and restrained in a way associated with a formal arrest. You would think this would mean anyone who is handcuffed is arrested, but our pro-conviction appellate courts have held that you can be handcuffed and not be under arrest for Miranda purposes. That’s how pro-state judicial activism works, you repeal constitutional protections to save convictions. Again, don’t wait until you are in custody to shut up and/or ask for a lawyer.

We have some tests that court use to decide who is custody, such as whether a reasonable person would feel free to leave or terminate the interview, or what degree of force the police used etc. Still, it’s better to not play those games and just lawyer up and be quiet.

Why didn’t the police read you your rights?

First, because they want you to talk to them so they wait as long as possible until they formally arrest you. The longer they keep you on the side of the road talking the easier it is to convict you. This is also the reason that if you voluntarily go to the police station they will tell you that you can leave whenever, because then you are not considered in custody and they don’t have to Mirandize you.

It is the LEO’s interest to not arrest you and to keep you talking. Until the point of arrest they can ask you whatever they want without Miranda warnings. So don’t wait to be arrested to remain silent and ask for a lawyer.

What is the law in Texas on Miranda warnings?

For that we go to the Code of Criminal Procedure section 38.22-

Sec. 3. (a) No oral or sign language statement of an accused made as a result of custodial interrogation shall be admissible against the accused in a criminal proceeding unless:
(1) an electronic recording, which may include motion picture, video tape, or other visual recording, is made of the statement;
(2) prior to the statement but during the recording the accused is given the warning in Subsection (a) of Section 2 above and the accused knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waives any rights set out in the warning;
(3) the recording device was capable of making an accurate recording, the operator was competent, and the recording is accurate and has not been altered;
(4) all voices on the recording are identified; and
(5) not later than the 20th day before the date of the proceeding, the attorney representing the defendant is provided with a true, complete, and accurate copy of all recordings of the defendant made under this article.
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