If you are accused of committing a crime in Texas, it can be an intimidating experience, especially once police start questioning you about the alleged crime. However, you do not have to talk to police if you are in a situation in which you can invoke your Fifth Amendment rights.
What is your right to remain silent?
The Fifth Amendment provides all in the U.S. with the right against forced self-incrimination. The landmark Miranda v. Arizona case deemed the Fifth Amendment protections to apply to any situation in which a person’s personal freedom is curtailed, for example, if they are handcuffed or taken into custody. Police in such situation must make a person aware of their Miranda rights. These include the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If police fail to make a person’s Miranda rights known, information garnered from the questioning may not be used against a person in a subsequent court case.
Can you waive your Miranda rights?
First, it is important to note that Miranda rights only apply to those who are in police custody. If a person is not in police custody when they are being questioned, police need not advise them of their Miranda rights. In addition, it may be possible for a person to waive their Miranda rights if they do so knowingly, intentionally and voluntarily. To determine if a legit waiver has taken place, courts will consider the totality of the circumstances and events.
Learn more about your civil rights
It is important that people in Texas understand their constitutional rights if they are accused of a crime. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those in Texas who want to learn more about their rights may find our firm’s website to be a useful resource.