Movies and television shows involving an arrest always show the officer advising an individual of his or her rights after placing the individual under arrest. Part of the “Miranda rights” involves advising the person that he or she has the right to remain silent. While it is true that the individual can exercise this right upon arrest, what movies and television do not let people in Texas or elsewhere know is that they do not have to wait until an arrest to exercise this crucial right.

The fact is that anything a person says prior to an arrest can also be used against that person. Police officers will generally not tell an individual this, especially if he or she is answering questions and making statements. Officers may even delay an arrest in order to get as much information from an individual before having to give the Miranda warnings since letting the individual talk often provides them with more evidence of probable cause for the arrest.

Use your rights when the time calls for it

For this reason alone, it may be a good idea to invoke the right to remain silent right anyway. Other than giving basic identification information, a person does not have to answer questions prior to an arrest. In order to avoid any confusion regarding the invocation of this right, it is necessary for an individual to be clear that he or she is choosing to remain silent and will not talk to police without first speaking to an attorney or prior to the arrival of an attorney.

It is vital for Texas residents to understand that they always have the right to remain silent. They do not — and probably should not — wait to be placed under arrest before doing so. It may be tempting to try to defend themselves in order to avoid an arrest, but that could be a mistake. Not talking may not prevent an arrest, but it does prevent providing any potential probable cause for an arrest.