Your statements can and will be used against you in court, here’s how
When you make the mistake of talking to the police, or a detective, anyone from law enforcement, you take the risk that the statements you make will be used against you in court. Unless you are in custody, or subject to custodial interrogation, the may not have to Mirandize you or warn you about your right to remain silent. If you just start taking, then what you say is fair game in court. It’s why you should never talk to the police or a detective, and instead hire a lawyer to talk for you.
What’s the law in Texas on using a defendant’s statements against him/her?
A defendant’s statement may be admitted into evidence against him if it appears that he made the statement freely and voluntarily, without compulsion or persuasion. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 38.21. Article 38.22 of the code, entitled “When statement may be used,” establishes the procedural safeguards for securing the privilege against self-incrimination. See Joseph v. State, 309 S.W.3d 20, 23 (Tex. Crim. App. 2010). No oral statement of an accused made as a result of a custodial interrogation may be admitted against the accused in a criminal proceeding unless (1) the statement was recorded and (2) before the statement but during the recording, the accused was warned of his rights and knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived those rights. See Miranda, 384 U.S. at 444–10
45; Joseph, 309 S.W.3d at 23–24.
What if I’m under arrest and the police try to talk to me?
If you are under arrest, and the police want to question you, then they should give the required Miranda warnings. You should really never talk after being Mirandized, that’s a terrible idea. The police have already decided you are a criminal, nothing you can say is going to help. So just shut up or ask for a lawyer.
What the Miranda warnings in Texas?
Article 38.22, section 2(a), requires the defendant be informed of the
(1) he has the right to remain silent and not make any statement at all
and that any statement he makes may be used against him at trial;
(2) any statement he makes may be used as evidence against him in
(3) he has the right to have a lawyer present to advise him prior to and
during any questioning;
(4) if he is unable to employ a lawyer, he has the right to have a
lawyer appointed to advise him prior to and during any questioning;
(5) he has the right to terminate the interview at any time.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 38.22, § 2(a).
Again, if the police read you those statements, that’s the founding fathers telling you to shut the fuck up. Seriously, quit talking, ask for a lawyer. Even if you don’t say “I waive my rights, let’s talk”, your statements can still be used against you. The State has to prove you waived your rights, but that’s way easier than it sounds in Texas.
How can the State prove you waived your rights?
The State bears the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his rights. Joseph, 309 S.W.3d at 24. It is not required that the recording of the accused’s statement contain an express waiver of rights. Rocha v. State, 16 S.W.3d 1, 12 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000). A waiver of rights may be inferred from the actions and words of the person interrogated. Joseph, 309 S.W.3d at 25. In evaluating whether appellant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his rights, we use a two-pronged test, in which we ask: (1) whether the relinquishment of the right was voluntary by determining whether it was the product of a free and deliberate choice rather than intimidation, coercion, or deception, and (2) whether the waiver was made with full awareness of the nature of the rights being abandoned and the consequences of the decision to abandon them. Id. We look to the totality of the circumstances in determining whether a statement was made voluntarily. Id.