You likely don’t make a habit of seeking out situations that place you at risk for arrest. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that police will never take you into custody as long as you live. Any number of situations can arise that can land you in trouble with the law. If it happens, it is critical that you pay close attention to everything the officer says or does.
Texas police are not free to do or say anything they like if they pull you over in a traffic stop or show up on your doorstep at home. While you may avoid further trouble if you cooperate as best you can, you also do not have to sit back and do nothing if someone violates your rights. If a law enforcement agent intends to interrogate you under custody, the arresting officer must give you a Miranda warning.
What is it and when should you get it?
The following information includes basic facts regarding Miranda rights and also tells when police are obligated to Mirandize a suspect:
- Miranda rights are a list of statements that a police officer must verbally tell you before formal questioning after an arrest.
- One of the warnings officers must give is to let you know that you have a Constitutional right to invoke the Fifth Amendment.
- The Fifth Amendment protects your right to remain silent without legal representation.
- A Miranda warning must also inform you that you have the right to request that an attorney be present while you answer questions.
- You also have a right to secure legal representation under due process of law, and the officer must let you know that, if you can’t afford to hire one, the court will appoint one to you.
There are certain circumstances that would allow a police officer to officially question you without first informing you of your Miranda rights. If he or she thinks you are somehow a threat to public safety, that would be an example. Your right to remain silent does not include answering questions regarding your personal identification information.
What if a personal rights violation took place?
If you don’t think police followed proper protocol during a traffic stop, a home visit, or at any time during or following your arrest, you can reach out for defense support to learn more about how to challenge such issues in court.