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Understanding Your Right to Remain Silent in Texas

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Tarrant County criminal charges defense attorney

“You have the right to remain silent. Whatever you say can potentially be used against you in a court of law.” You have probably heard this phrase, called the Miranda warning, many times before, either in real life or on television and in movies. However, have you ever really thought about the importance of your right to remain silent? Invoking your Constitutional right to stay silent can sometimes be the difference between an acquittal and a criminal conviction. It is imperative for everyone to understand what their rights are with regard to self-incrimination.

Miranda v. Arizona Requires Police to Inform You of Certain Rights

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution established several crucial rights, including the right of citizens to avoid incriminating themselves. The Constitution states that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This right was further defined by the 1966 Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. The Supreme Court held that a criminal defendant cannot be interrogated by police until he or she has been made aware of his or her right to say nothing. The landmark case also established that law enforcement officers must make criminal defendants aware of their right to consult with an attorney and the right to have an attorney present during any police questioning. Under the “exclusionary rule,” if a defendant does not receive the Miranda warning, any statements he or she makes could be inadmissible in court.

When Should I Stay Silent?

There are many times that cooperating with law enforcement can benefit you. However, it is important to understand the difference between cooperation and incrimination. If you are stopped by the police for a routine traffic stop, staying silent will likely raise suspicions. It may be in your best interests to speak with police if doing so does not implicate you in any criminal activity. If you have been arrested and taken into police custody, however, it is always recommended that you invoke your right to remain silent and wait for a lawyer before allowing police to question you. Calmly and clearly say, “I am invoking my right to remain silent, and I want to speak with a lawyer.”

Contact a Plano, Texas Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, it is important to invoke your right to remain silent as well as your right to legal representation. Having a lawyer present during police questioning will ensure that your rights are not violated and that you do not say anything that can be used against you. To speak with a Collin County criminal defense lawyer from The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., call our office at 214-303-9600. Schedule your free, confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fifth_amendment
https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/
https://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/facts-and-case-summary-miranda-v-arizona

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