As you may have heard, Texas has passed House Bill 62 which will be codified as Section 545.4251 of the Texas Transportation Code. This new law, effective September 1, 2017, will prohibit the use of a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle, unless the vehicle is stopped. Said another way, you can no longer text and drive unless you are safely stopped at a red light or stop sign. Electronic message means a text message, email, or even social media message that is being sent for the purpose of communicating with another person. Certain exceptions will apply for emergency situations.
We've all seen plenty of legal TV shows and movies that depict the "Miranda warnings" that are read after someone is arrested by the police on suspicion of a crime. You probably even have most of them memorized. (Hint: The first one is "you have the right to remain silent.") The warnings set out in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 467-73 (1966) protect a person's constitutional rights against self-incrimination during a custodial interrogation. But many people incorrectly believe that if an officer doesn't read you the Miranda warnings the second he puts the cuffs on you, your case will later be dismissed. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. An officer doesn't need to read you the Miranda warnings until you are both in custody and being questioned by the police with the intention that your answers will be used against you at trial. Much of the distinction about when an officer needs to read Miranda comes down to a.) What type of encounter you are having with the police and b.) What type of information they are asking you.