If you are taken into custody by Texas law enforcement authorities, you must be notified of your Miranda rights. These rights include the ability to remain silent and to obtain counsel. You must also be notified that counsel will be provided if you cannot afford to hire one yourself.
The right to remain silent
The Constitution says that you cannot be compelled to say anything as speaking to authorities might incriminate you. Generally speaking, you can exercise this right by not saying anything when an officer asks you a question. You can also make it known that you do not wish to speak until you have counsel present. At this point, officers, detectives or anyone else representing the state must refrain from asking any questions.
The right to counsel
The right to counsel is an essential right because the average citizen doesn’t know the law well enough to create a credible criminal defense strategy on their own. Even if you have some idea as to how the law works, it’s generally a good idea to hire outside counsel because you may not be able to approach the matter in an objective manner.
You can still speak voluntarily
Anything that you say voluntarily can be used against you in a court of law, and this fact is made clear in any reading of your Miranda rights. While authorities may claim to trade information for leniency in your case, there is no guarantee that this will happen. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to say as little as possible even if you believe that speaking may help you avoid criminal charges or a severe sentence after being convicted.
If you are convicted of a crime, you may be sentenced to jail time, a fine or community service. However, if you can prove that authorities improperly obtained evidence in your case, it may be possible to have it dismissed or gain leverage to receive a favorable plea deal.