Anyone who has ever watched a police procedural television show or a movie that involves the arrest of a criminal has likely witnessed officers advising defendants of their Miranda rights. Although many laws and legal procedures vary from state to state, there are certain basic civil rights that those accused of crimes have regardless of where they are at the time of the arrest.
Those rights include your Miranda rights, the first and most important of which is your right to remain silent. Waiving your rights can impact the outcome of your interaction with law enforcement. Familiarizing yourself with this right can help you stand up for it if you find yourself in an unexpected interaction with law enforcement where they accuse you of a crime or question you about one.
Police cannot force you to incriminate yourself
The whole reason that you have the right to remain silent is because police cannot force you to give evidence against yourself, in part thanks to the 5th Amendment, as well as important federal legal precedent that gave rise to the Miranda rights procedure.
That is why people in court will sometimes plead the fifth as a way to avoid giving testimony that could compromise them during a criminal trial. However, those protections don't just apply in court. They also apply during any interaction with law enforcement. When police ask you questions, they often do so in a leading manner. The intention is to get you to contradict yourself or to say something that will help connect you to the crime in question.
Information that you offer honestly and innocently could help build a case against you, even if you didn't do anything against the law. In order to avoid making statements that incriminate you or that help law enforcement officers or prosecutors bring charges against you, you can invoke your right to remain silent and your right to request an attorney.
An attorney can stay with you during the questioning process to ensure that the police don't violate your civil rights in Texas or ask you questions that could have implications for your legal situation. They can also help you prepare a statement without endangering yourself.
Anything you say can get used against you in court
In some countries, your rights are different. For example, in the United Kingdom, your right to remain silent is tempered by the fact that anything you don't tell police in the initial interview may not be admissible in court later. In the United States, there is no such limitation on your right to remain silent.
You do not have to provide information about yourself or your activities to law enforcement if they will use that information to bring charges against you. If you find yourself dealing with a potential arrest or police questioning, securing the advice of an experienced Texas criminal justice attorney can help you better stand up for your rights.