Recently, we discussed Miranda rights. Here we’ll look at one of those in more detail: the right to remain silent.
Interacting with police can be an anxiety-producing experience. However, it’s crucial to remember that he Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides you with the right not to answer their questions (beyond providing identifying information). Remember these three points about invoking this right.
Clear invocation is critical
You must clearly invoke your right to remain silent. It’s not enough to simply not say anything. Instead, make a clear statement, such as, “I choose to remain silent,” that makes your intent clear.
Protection is absolute
Once you invoke your right to remain silent, it applies to all law enforcement officers across the board. The interrogating officers can’t call in a new shift or department to resume the questioning. Additionally, you shouldn’t answer any questions or offer any information after the invocation.
Invocation isn’t an admission of guilt
Invoking your right to remain silent can’t be used as evidence of your guilt. Instead, it must be viewed only as your exercise of your fundamental rights. By invoking your right to remain silent, you’re giving yourself time to discuss your side with your legal representative so you can learn your options for dealing with the matter.
Remaining silent is your right, and you should avail yourself of it. If you invoke that right and it’s violated by officers, it will likely be a consideration in your defense strategy. Having experienced legal guidance can help you protect your rights and present your case.