Most people are familiar with Miranda rights and know them well enough to recite them in many cases. However, despite the general familiarity, many people are still misinformed about their Miranda rights, what they mean, and how to invoke them. One of the most widely misunderstood and misused rights is the right to remain silent. Here are some of the things that you need to understand.
What Is The Right To Remain Silent?
The right to remain silent means that you have the legal right not to answer any questions with law enforcement unless you have legal representation, or not at all. If you invoke your right to remain silent, law enforcement can no longer interrogate you.
How Do You Invoke Your Right To Remain Silent?
If you wish to invoke your right to remain silent, you might think that you should just not say anything at all. In fact, that does not express your desire to remain silent. You must actually state clearly, audibly, and directly that you are invoking your right to remain silent. You cannot leave it to interpretation by simply not answering any questions.
Do You Have To Be Read Your Rights?
You do not have to be read your rights in order to exercise them, but you may have some legal recourse if you are taken into custody without being read your Miranda rights. New legislation has reduced the available options for those arrested without being advised of their rights, but you may still be able to claim a failure to advise you of your rights in some cases.
What Happens Once You Do Invoke Your Right To Remain Silent?
You might wonder what you should do once you have invoked your right to remain silent. It is important that you keep yourself quiet and do not respond to any questions at all until you've talked with a lawyer. If you do answer any questions, that action negates your claim to remain silent. If you want to exercise that right, do not answer anything or offer any information at all.
Your lawyer will help you ensure that you protect your rights following an arrest. Your attorney will help you determine how to respond to any questions and can act on your behalf. Be mindful of your actions when you are taken into custody and ask for legal representation as soon as possible to protect yourself.
Consult a criminal lawyer to be more prepared.