When Do You Have the Right to Remain Silent?

Right to remain silent

“You have the right to remain silent, or what you say can and will be use against you in a court of law” is a phrase that has been made popular by Hollywood crime movies. This sentence is part of the Miranda Warnings. So, when do you have the right to remain silent, and should you continue your silence?

Your right to remain silent applies when you are placed in custody by the police, under arrest, or in any sort of custodial interrogation. The police are obligated to read this right to you during questioning. So, should you always be silent in police custody? Probably; unless you have an attorney present. Self-incrimination is never a good thing. In addition you could be making the situation worse for yourself or for your attorney.

How do I invoke my right to remain silent?

In order to invoke this right, it's best to clearly state that you wish to invoke your right to remain silent, rather than simply staying silent or refusing to answer questions. Here are examples of how to effectively invoke the right to remain silent:

  • Stating you wish to remain silent;
  • That you wish to speak to an attorney before continuing; or
  • Stating that you are exercising your right to remain silent.

If you simply continue to be silent without stating you’re using the right to stay silent a police officer may continue to ask questions or interrogate you. Properly invoking the right to stay silent will end police questions and interrogations for at least a temporary period. If an interrogation later begins you can always invoke your right to remain silent again. The less you say to police officers the more help your attorney can provide to you. Your attorney will know that you think you may have a good excuse or a perfectly logical explanation, just tell your attorney first! If you’re facing a criminal matter and even if you may have said a little too much, its okay contact Stowe Law Firm, PLLC today to see how we can help!