This is the next article in my series on the handling of sexual assault charges in Laredo and other south Texas areas. My last post discussed how search and seizure issues impact sexual assault cases. It is important to understand that the exclusion of evidence from trial may result in a more favorable resolution, if not a dismissal. Such matters involve complicated legal questions and it is important that you retain an experienced attorney to assist you. In this article I will be discussing how Miranda violations can impact the defense. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a criminal defense lawyer.
Laredo police may obtain statements from a suspect in violation of the Fifth Amendment
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides all people with the right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during questioning. An individual does not have to have been placed under arrest for this right to apply. Instead, the right applies to all “custodial interrogations” in which a person is being questioned by law enforcement and feels that they do not have the right to leave. If a person is in such a situation then any statements obtained by law enforcement may be ruled inadmissible unless the suspect waives their right to remain silent. For a waiver to be valid, the individual must have given up their rights “knowingly and intelligently.” What constitutes a “knowing and intelligent” waiver will depend on the specifics of the case.
Consider the following example. A woman is sexually assaulted. The perpetrator was wearing a hoodie and she did not get a good look at his face. She describes the person as being roughly the same height and build as one of her co-workers, but cannot say that he was the person who committed the crime. Laredo police go to the home of the co-worker and begin questioning him without providing him with a Miranda warning. The co-worker is unaware of what is going on and, throughout the conversation, one of the officers has his hand on his gun. This makes the co-worker feel as if he must answer the questions. He makes several statements which law enforcement takes out of context and they then arrest him. Under a scenario such as this, the Court may well say that a Miranda warning was required and that the individual did not knowingly and intelligently waive his rights. This could lead to any statements being ruled inadmissible in Court. It must be remembered, however, that how a Court will rule in any given case will always depend on the facts of the situation.
Retain an experienced lawyer if you have been charged with sexual assault
If you or a family member have been charged with sexual assault then it is vital that you retain an attorney as soon as possible. There are several issues which a defendant may be able to raise in such cases. In addition to possible Miranda violations, these include search and seizure issues and seeking the exclusion of eyewitness identifications. Depending on the facts of the case, it may also be possible to outright defend against the charges. Even if such defenses are not an option, counsel will work to gain a more favorable outcome. Given the serious nature of such charges, it is vital that you protect your interests.
If you or a family member have been arrested then contact my office today to speak with a Laredo criminal defense lawyer. My office believes that everyone is entitled to both aggressive representation and respect. We understand that this is a critical time in your life and my firm will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation.