When Should You Exercise Your Right To Remain Silent?
Most, if not all, Americans are aware of the right to remain silent. Even if you have never been arrested by the police and had them read this right to you, you most likely know about it. Many movies and TV shows have scenes of police officers informing arrestees of their right to stay silent. But while you may know that criminal suspects have the right to remain silent, you may not know when you should exercise this right. In this article, we help you understand when to exercise your right to remain silent.
Understanding the Right To Remain Silent
Before going into when you should exercise your right to remain silent, it is crucial that you understand this right. In the U.S., the right to remain silent is a legal right under the Fifth Amendment. This right is designed to protect you when the police are questioning you. The right to remain silent is designed to protect you during your criminal trial. This means you can exercise your right to stay silent during police questioning and even at trial. Invoking your right to remain silent can help you avoid making self-incriminating statements.
When Should You Exercise Your Right To Stay Silent?
As discussed in the previous section, the right to remain silent is designed to protect you when the police are questioning you. So, the first instance when you should exercise your right to stay silent is when undergoing police questioning after an arrest. It is best to avoid answering any police questions or providing any information at the police station until you have spoken to your attorney. If you talk to the police before consulting a lawyer, you could inadvertently make self-incriminating statements that could harm your case.
It may be a good idea to invoke your right to remain silent as soon as you are arrested, even before you get to the police station. After the police have informed you of your Miranda rights, you can immediately exercise your right to remain silent. That way, even if you don’t invoke this right at the police station, you will have already invoked it, and the police cannot legally question you once at the station.
It may also be a good idea to exercise your right to remain silent in court during your trial. However, the decision of whether or not it is a good idea for you to testify in your court case should not be made without an attorney’s guidance. A lawyer can evaluate your case and determine if you should speak at trial. Your attorney can guide you on what you should say if they determine you should testify in court.
Reasons to Exercise Your Right To Remain Silent
The following are just a few of the reasons why you should exercise your right to stay silent as a criminal suspect;
- You cannot convince the police of your innocence. The police usually ask questions in a manner to get you to admit something.
- Just because you choose to remain silent does not mean you are guilty. Remaining silent can’t be used against you.
- Confessing may not benefit you. The police may tell you that if you confess, they will go easy on you, but often, this is a lie.
- Silence prevents self-incrimination
Contact an NYC Criminal Attorney
If you’ve been arrested, ensure you speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Our qualified NYC criminal attorney at Mark I. Cohen, Esq., is here for you.