What to Understand about Your Constitutional Right to Remain Silent
Being read a Miranda warning is an inevitable part of all arrests. The right to remain silent goes back to a major Constitutional right in the Fifth Amendment and is meant as a form of protection against being questioned without the benefit of counsel. This right is not just important but is largely misunderstood. Here you can read more to learn some facts that you may have missed about the right to remain silent during a law enforcement action.
When you hear the Miranda warning, it's not necessarily because of an arrest situation.
Some people will assume that an arrest will just naturally follow a Miranda warning. In some cases, law enforcement will give a suspect or someone thought to be connected to a crime a Miranda warning to protect themselves rather than the recipient of the warning. That means that whatever the person says can be used even if they are never arrested. Too many times, the information provided to law enforcement won't stand up in court when provided sans the warning. If you are given a Miranda warning, don't panic—it might be just a routine thing for that law enforcement agency to do.
You are protecting yourself from incrimination when you don't speak.
As the warning says, anything you say can be used against you and the warning should serve as a reminder not to speak until you talk to a lawyer. You have no idea what law enforcement will do with your utterances and you cannot go back and remove what you say. Everything nowadays is recorded and lives on forever. No matter how innocent you might be, keep in mind that innocent people get convicted of crimes all the time so staying quiet is wise.
How to evoke your Fifth Amendment rights.
When you are questioned by law enforcement, you must provide them with certain forms of information. They have the right to know your identification, for example, but little else. Don't hesitate to produce identification if you have it and identifying information if you don't. If you are read your rights or not, you can evoke them by stating that you are doing so. You can continue to repeat the same statement as many times as necessary. That is not resisting arrest—it's evoking your right to remain silent.
If you are detained or arrested, don't hesitate to ask for a lawyer. You will need a criminal law defense attorney to help you with your situation. Once you have representation, you will have more guidance on what to say to law enforcement and how to say it. To find out more, speak to a criminal defense lawyer today.