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What are your Miranda Rights by law?

Many people are confused about their Miranda rights and what they are. Miranda rights were granted in 1966 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people taken into custody must be read their Fifth Amendment rights prior to being questioned. These were awarded during the Miranda v. Arizona case, so they have taken on the name "Miranda rights."

What are your Miranda rights, and when do they kick in?

Former NFL player charged with drug possession

Former National Football League wide receiver Dorial Gree-Beckham, who had played for the University of Missouri, was formally charged on June 27 with resisting arrest and possessing 10 grams or less of marijuana. The charges stem from a drug raid conducted by police in Springfield in December 2018. The former football star faces a $500 fine for the marijuana charge and up to one year in jail for the resisting arrest charge.

According to media reports, Green-Beckham was observed entering the residence that Springfield Police Department officers planned to raid carrying a backpack. When police entered the home about 15 minutes later, Green-Beckham allegedly attempted to flee by jumping out of a window. He was apprehended a few moments later by a police officer who is said to have used a Taser to subdue him. Police say that Green-Beckham was not the target of the search warrant.

Supervised release violations are a burden on jails and taxpayers

Almost eight out of 10 of the people sent to jail in Missouri are incarcerated for parole or probation violations according to a report released on June 18 by the Council of State Governments Justice Center. Around the country, states spend $9.3 billion each year jailing individuals who have failed to follow supervised release program rules. About a third of this money is spent on jailing people for minor violations like missing a drug test or violating a curfew.

The CSG report provides the most comprehensive analysis of the problem to date as it is based on information gathered from all 50 states, and it reveals that supervised release programs barely achieve a 50% success rate. Advocates for criminal justice reform say that probation and parole makes life extremely difficult for individuals who are trying to get their lives back on track, and they point to rules prohibiting contact with people who have criminal records that can be virtually impossible to follow in many communities.

Can the body really turn food into alcohol?

Recognizing that the legal repercussions of driving while under the influence of alcohol can be quite severe, many people who are convicted often come up with creative excuses for why their blood alcohol content was too high to be behind the wheel.  

Recently, one man claimed that the reason his BAC was more than four times the legal limit when he was involved in a head-on collision was because his body turned food into alcohol. According to an article published on Vice, the Ohio man said that he had only had one glass of wine before getting behind the wheel, and there would be no other reason for his BAC to be upwards of .32. 

Social media may be fueling crime paranoia

Violent crime rates in Missouri and around the country have fallen by almost 50% since 1993, according to figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, studies reveal that most Americans believe the country is becoming more dangerous, not less. This misconception is partly caused by a steady stream of mainstream media stories that stoke public fear and make sensational acts of violence seem far more common than they actually are. In addition, the abundance of information Americans have about modern life and the dizzying number of ways they can share it could also be playing a role.

Some of the most commonly downloaded news and social media applications give users local crime statistics in real time and allow them to post warnings to other users about suspicious activity or individuals. The companies behind these programs say they are designed to keep communities informed and safe, but innocent people or even vehicles that seem out of place are often painted as being up to no good. This sometimes results in individuals finding themselves in dangerous confrontations with police officers because a concerned citizen called 911.

2 alleged drunk drivers hit 2 kids minutes apart

On May 19, two Missouri children were hit by alleged drunk drivers in separate incidents in Kansas City. Remarkably, the accidents occurred just four minutes and four miles from each other.

In the first incident, a vehicle struck a young child, described as being early elementary-school age, near East 40th Street and Wayne Avenue at around 3:41 p.m. Apparently, the driver attempted to go around a stopped car on the road and ended up hitting the child who was crossing the street. Luckily, the victim only suffered minor injuries and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. The driver reportedly tried to flee the scene but was later arrested and charged with DUI and driving on a revoked license. The individual was also wanted on multiple warrants.

Conditions that may cause a breath test malfunction

People in Missouri who submit a breath test that shows they have a blood alcohol content that is above the legal limit might want to ask to be taken to the police station if they know they are not drunk. Most of the portable devices carried by law enforcement use fuel cell technology, and certain conditions may cause them to report a person as erroneously having a high blood alcohol content. Devices using infrared spectroscopy, which are usually available at the police station, can give a more accurate reading. People can also request a blood test.

A Texas attorney got DUI charges against his client dropped on the grounds that the client was in ketosis. Ketosis is caused from a low-carb diet, and it causes the liver to generate acetone. This substance may be released as isopropyl alcohol as a person breathes. The attorney says the fuel cells in portable breath tests read isopropyl and ethanol alcohol in the same way. According to one study published in 2006, a man who was on a low-carb diet couldn't start his employer's car, which required a breath test to unlock the ignition. It also used fuel cells.

Missouri man faces life in prison for driving drunk

Prosecutors in Missouri say that a 56-year-old Greene County man could be sent to prison for the rest of his life after being charged as habitual drunk driver. The Springfield resident was charged with his eighth DWI in August 2018. On April 22, a warrant was issued for the man's arrest after he had been designated as a habitual offender on April 19. He has been charged with a Class B felony that carries a custodial sentence of between 10 years and life. A records check reveals that he was convicted of his first DWI in 1983.

The man's most recent brush with the law came after concerned citizens called the Springfield Police Department to report a possibly intoxicated driver. The callers told emergency operators that they saw an Isuzu Rodeo SUV strike a parked car as it entered a South Luster Avenue apartment complex parking lot. Responding police officers claim the man was so intoxicated that he was unable to stand without assistance. His blood alcohol concentration was allegedly .256 percent at the time. This is more than three times the .08 percent legal limit in Missouri.

Time spent in prison by innocent people reaches new high

Missouri residents might like to know about the new records regarding exonerations from prison set in 2018. Last year, 151 people were exonerated after serving a combined total of 1,639 years in prison, resulting in an average of 11 years for each person. The National Registry of Exonerations tracks data involving people released from prison after being falsely convicted, and the group said the amount of time spent behind bars is a new record.

Perhaps related to the longer amount of time served, another milestone occurred in 2018 related to the time falsely imprisoned people spent locked up. TNRE tracks exonerations that happened from 1989 to the present, and the length of time spent in prison by all exonerated people has now exceeded 20,000 years.

Do police always have to read your Miranda rights?

Most citizens learn that the police must read you your Miranda rights (“You have the right to remain silent…”) when you’re arrested. We learn that if this doesn’t happen, we get to go free. This scenario is possible, but don’t rely on that happening.

In fact, there are a couple of scenarios when the police don’t have to read you your Miranda Rights. This runs contrary to the common misconception that they must read them off.

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I don't stop working just because it's after 5 p.m. My clients can always reach me after hours and on weekends. I also visit clients in jail when necessary. I keep my rates affordable because I know, when facing a criminal charge, you can't afford not to have a criminal defense lawyer. Contact me, criminal defense attorney Andrew Christie, today at 816-533-3456 to schedule a free consultation.

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