Most people know that they have the right to remain silent. But the extent of this right is oftentimes lost on those who don’t practice criminal defense. This can leave you at a significant disadvantage when dealing with the police, and it can put you at risk of making an incriminating statement that can lead to conviction and the imposition of severe penalties. Therefore, this week let’s briefly look at your right to remain silent.
What is your right to remain silent?
Thanks to the U.S. Constitution, you’re protected against making self-incriminating statements. That means that you don’t have to talk to the police at all, even if they bring you to the police station for formal questioning. Also, you can invoke your right to remain silent at any time. So, if you start talking to police in an attempt to be helpful but you discover that the police view you as a suspect, then you can tell law enforcement officials that you won’t be answering any other questions.
Your Miranda warning
When the police take you into custody and interrogate you, meaning that you’re in a position where you can’t leave and the police are asking you questions, law enforcement is required to give you a Miranda warning. This warning informs you of your right to remain silent, the fact that anything you say can and will be used against you in court, and that you’re entitled to an attorney. By invoking any of these rights, including asking for an attorney, police interrogation must stop.
Just keep in mind that your Miranda rights only apply in circumstances where you’re in custody and being interrogated. A lot of times the police will try to bypass informing you of your rights by simply having a “friendly” conversation. That’s why it’s always helpful to ask if you’re under arrest and free to leave before answering any questions.
Defending yourself to the fullest extent possible
To protect your future as best as possible, you need to know every criminal defense option available to you. Do your research, understand the law, and seek out support during this difficult time if you feel like you need it. After all, if you wind up charged with an offense, then you’re going to be going up against aggressive prosecutors. You’ll need an equally strong defense.