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What you need to know about your right to remain silent

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

When you’re accused of criminal wrongdoing, the police and prosecutors are going to do everything they can to try to get a conviction. They’ll pressure you, lie to you, and twist your words to make it appear that you said something that you didn’t.

All of these tactics can leave you feeling like you need to explain yourself and the situation so that you can try to wriggle your way out of suspicion. But doing so can be dangerous.

In fact, a lot of individuals who end up convicted of a criminal offense get there by talking themselves into trouble. Remember, the police are not your friends, and they’re not there to try to help you clear the air.

That’s why it’s imperative that you understand your rights and how to protect yourself when the police come calling.

Understanding your right to remain silent

You have a constitutional right against self-incrimination. This means that you never have to testify against yourself in court, and you don’t have to talk to the police.

One way that you should be reminded of this right is through the reading of your Miranda rights. Once you’re being subjected to custodial interrogation, the police are required to read you these rights, which include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

In most, if not all instances, it’s best to avail yourself of these rights and refrain from talking to the police until you’ve spoken with your attorney first.

What is custodial interrogation?

Custodial interrogation occurs when the police hold you for questioning, meaning that you aren’t free to leave on your own. If you’re unsure if you’re being subjected to custodial interrogation, you can simply ask if you’re free to go. If the answer is “no,” then you’re being interrogated.

This is an important distinction, too, because the police don’t have to inform you of your rights if you’re being questioned outside of custodial interrogation. Therefore, you should be on the lookout for situations where the police try to buddy up to you outside of the police station to try to get you comfortable talking.

Remember, you never have to talk to the police, and it’s always advisable that you consult with an attorney before doing so.

Won’t staying silent make you look guilty?

Maybe to law enforcement, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you’re innocent until proven guilty in court, and your silence during police questioning isn’t going to give the prosecution much to work with.

Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about how asking for an attorney and staying silent will look. After all, you’re doing nothing more than exercising your rights.

What if you’ve already made statements to the police?

If you’ve already made incriminating statements to law enforcement, then you’ll want to analyze the circumstances surrounding those disclosures to see if there were any violations of your rights. If there were, then you may be able to exclude that evidence from being used against you in your case.

A set of legal eyes may make the difference in your case

There’s a lot at stake when you’re under suspicion or have been formally accused of criminal wrongdoing, which is why you need to ensure that you know how to aggressively protect yourself every step of the way. By having a criminal defense attorney on your side, you can rest assured that you’re protecting your rights and developing the persuasive legal arguments that you need to present your side of the case.

Hopefully then you can successfully protect your rights, your interests, and your future.