The Law And Your Right To Remain Silent
Countless crime dramas contain pivotal scenes where the suspect is taken into a tiny, windowless room and questioned. Many of these fictional accounts of police procedures leave out the reading of the Miranda Rights. Usually, the Miranda warning is given when the suspect is arrested, but a confusing situation exists for those who are in police custody, but not under arrest. The purpose of the Miranda warning is to give people the opportunity to avoid incriminating themselves while being questioned by keeping silent. But are people who are being questioned without being arrested also protected? Read on for vital information about protecting your rights while being questioned by the police.
Undergoing Questioning Without Being Arrested
The law in most states does not require that people being questioned at a police station be "Mirandized". However, if you are questioned in a locked room or given the impression that you are not simply free to walk out, you should be given a Miranda warning.
The Powerful Fifth Amendment
Statements given while being questioned may lead to self-incrimination, and may be used in court. The Fifth Amendment, however, gives everyone the right to "remain silent", whether you have been read your Miranda Rights or not. To properly invoke your rights, you must actually say "I invoke my right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer, on the grounds I may incriminate myself." It should be noted that it is not necessary to recite the phrase word-for-word; you may paraphrase the statement and still retain your rights.
Can I Simply Be Silent?
A controversial 2013 ruling by the Supreme Court stunned the legal world by asserting that simply keeping silent, without evoking your rights, could imply guilt. This ruling can be interpreted to mean that people who have been read their Miranda Rights have more rights than people who are just under interrogation.
Handling an Interrogation
It's very important to keep in mind that whether you have been read your Miranda Rights or not, you do have rights when being questioned by the police. Once you have evoked your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent or have been read your Miranda Rights, you are only required to state your name. Anything you say beyond that, other than requesting a lawyer, could nullify your right to avoid self-incrimination.
You have the right to call a lawyer, even if you are not under arrest. Being detained by the police for any reason is a serious matter, requiring the aid of legal professional. Contact an attorney, like Devine Law PC, for advice, counsel and to ensure that a trusted advocate is on your side for any criminal matters.