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How Can I Invoke My Right to Silence?

In popular media, someone that has been arrested is immediately told they have the right to remain silent during an arrest. This is not something that was made up in order to make television shows and movies more interesting to the viewer. Whenever law enforcement makes an arrest, they are legally required to inform a suspect that they have rights. Thanks to the landmark case Miranda v. Arizona , police officers that fail to inform suspects of their rights may find that they are unable to use some information in court.

How to Invoke the Right to Silence

When someone is arrested, they must be told of their Miranda Rights in order to prevent someone from giving up information that would result in self-incrimination. Key to this is being arrested- if someone is not in custody, or unable to freely leave, then they do not need to be read their Miranda Rights but information can be used against them.

The Miranda Rights require that police must tell someone they have arrested:

  • Information they speak can be used against them in court;
  • They have the right to consult with an attorney;
  • Their attorney can be present during any questioning;
  • A lawyer will be provided if they are unable to afford one; and
  • They are able to stop the interview at any time.

One of the benefits of the right to remain silent is that the prosecution is unable to use this to indicate that someone may have been involved in an alleged crime. However, a recent Supreme Court case has determined that the only way that someone that has not been placed in custody to have their silence respected and not used against them in court is to explicitly invoke their right to silence. Therefore, in any incident when law enforcement asks someone a question, they should politely decline to answer and invoke the right to remain silent. Taking this step can prevent evidence, information, and silence from used to prosecute an accused criminal.

Have you been involved with the police in Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, or Kingston? Don’t stand alone! Contact The Law Office of Kelley M. Enderley, PC right away!