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You Have the Right to Remain Silent

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Austin Criminal Defense LawyerMost of us are familiar with the phrase, “You have the right to remain silent. . .” especially if you are a fan of police TV shows. That is the first sentence of the Miranda Warning. This is the warning that law enforcement is required to give a suspect before interrogating them. What many suspects do not realize is that anything they say to police prior to being Mirandized can and likely will be used against them.

What Is the Miranda Warning?

Miranda rights or warning is a combination of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The Fifth Amendment protects a person from self-incrimination. The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right of every defendant to an attorney. When a person is read the Miranda Warning by a police officer, they are told:

  • They have the right to remain silent

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Midland Texas DWI Defense AttorneyThanksgiving is usually the kickoff for the winter holiday season. Historically, the day before Thanksgiving is known as one of the busiest travel days of the year as travelers take to the roads and the sky to visit family and friends near and far. It is estimated that more than 40 million people take to the roads for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Because so many people travel “home” for the holiday, the long Thanksgiving weekend is also a time when many friends get together at local pubs and restaurants, celebrating with mini reunions. It is not uncommon at any of these gatherings for there to be alcohol served. Unfortunately, getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking can quickly “squash” your Thanksgiving weekend plans and leave you facing serious drunk driving charges.

Thanksgiving Alcohol Data

According to national statistics, the night before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. The beer sales in bars throughout the country spikes more than 270 percent, while the sales of hard liquor increases by almost 115 percent. The tremendous increase in the number of patrons out drinking has led to the day before the holiday to be dubbed “Blackout Wednesday” referencing the “blacking out” many people experience due to excessive drunkenness.

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Midland Texas Juvenile Justice AttorneyUnder the Texas criminal justice system, when a minor has committed criminal offenses, jurisdiction falls under Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD). The goal of the TJJD is to protect both the child’s interest and keep communities safe. Although the hope is to keep the child from being sent to a juvenile detention facility, there are many cases where the TJJD judge does sentence a juvenile offender to a detention facility.

Recently, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) announced that it is initiating an investigation into five facilities over allegations of physical violence, sexual abuse, and other mistreatment of minors being held at these locations.

Investigation Launched

According to the statement issued by the DOJ, the allegations came to the department’s attention through new reports, public documents, and social media posts. There was also information that came from people who work in the Texas prison systems relaying accounts of neglect of mentally ill detainees, sexual abuse, and horrific physical violence.

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Midland Texas Criminal Defense LawyerA new law that went into effect last month in Texas significantly increases the charges that a person faces if they are arrested and charged with solicitation of a prostitute. That crime will now be charged as a state jail felony and the penalties for a conviction means a prison sentence and steep fines.

TX HB1540

For decades, the penalties for anyone arrested and convicted for prostitution were much more severe than for those charged with being a client. The person charged with prostitution was looked at as the criminal and could face jail time, while the client was usually only given a ticket, if anything at all.

However, over the past several years, law enforcement, lawmakers, and the public have come to believe that many people who engage in prostitution are not doing so willingly. Some may be victims of human trafficking who have been forced into prostitution. According to one major study, there are approximately 313,000 victims of human trafficking at any given moment in the state of Texas.

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Midland Texas Criminal Defense LawyerIn many criminal cases in Texas, when a person is arrested and charged with a crime, the judge will allow that person to be released on a personal bond, which means there is no collateral or deposit required. The defendant promises the court they will appear for all hearings regarding their case. They also are required to abide by all restrictions the court puts in place, as well as pay a personal bond fee within so many days following their release.

But that could all change for many defendants. Earlier this month, Governor Greg Abbot signed a new cash bail into law. The new law, which goes into effect on December 2, 2021, will make it more difficult for those accused of violent crimes to be released on bail while awaiting trial.

SB 6 - the Damon Allen Act

The new law was named after Texas State Trooper Damon Allen who was killed in the line of duty. In 2017, on Thanksgiving Day, Trooper Allen stopped a vehicle on Interstate 45 in Fairfield, Texas. As he was walking back to his patrol vehicle, the man he stopped fatally shot him with a rifle. The man accused of killing the trooper had a prior conviction of assaulting a police officer, and at the time of the shooting was out on $15,000 bond for new charges of aggravated assault on an officer and evading arrest.

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