Being arrested for a criminal offense in Houston can be extremely anxiety-inducing and scary, particularly when you know that the offense is serious and that it could result in severe penalties that may include prison time. When you are arrested, it is critical to remember that you have rights under the U.S. Constitution that you can exercise, which can help you later with your defense and ensure that you are treated fairly within the criminal justice system. Our experienced Houston criminal defense attorneys will do everything we can to develop an effective defense strategy for your case, but in the meantime, we want to be sure that you understand your rights.
The following are just some of the key rights that a person has following an arrest in Houston or elsewhere in Texas.
You Have a Right to Remain Silent and to Avoid Incriminating Yourself
When you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions the police ask. You have this right under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. While the police might tell you that refusing to speak will make you look guilty, it is essential to exercise your right to remain silent since anything you tell the police can be used against you later on.
You Have a Right to a Lawyer
You also have a right to have an attorney, and to have that attorney with you when the police interrogate you. Anyone who has been arrested but cannot afford to pay for an attorney also has the right to have an attorney appointed. The moment you ask for a lawyer, the police must cease any questioning. If the police continue to question you or try to force you to answer questions after you have invoked your right to counsel, any information the police obtain from that point forward cannot be used as evidence unless you waive your right to counsel. Do not waive your right to counsel. The moment you have been informed of your rights, it is important to exercise your right to remain silent and to ask for a lawyer.
You Must Be Informed of Your Right to Remain Silent and to an Attorney
Speaking of being informed of your rights, under Miranda v. Arizona (1966), you must be informed of your right to remain silent and of your right to a lawyer. If the police fail to inform you of your rights, the prosecution cannot use evidence obtained after that violation. The requirement that you be informed of these rights is often described as a Miranda warning or Miranda rights.
Seek Advice from a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of a crime in Texas, it is critical to begin working with one of our experienced Houston criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our firm to learn more about how we can assist with your defense or about your rights under U.S. law. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today for more information.