When Do You Have the Right to Remain Silent?
Even if you have never been arrested before, you’re likely familiar with Miranda Rights, which start with the reminder that you have the right to remain silent. However, this doesn’t mean you can stay silent in every situation where you interact with the police. Simply put, you have the right to remain silent once you have been placed into custody and the police have read your Miranda Rights before interrogating you. Any time you find that you’re not free to leave, such as being restrained with handcuffs or held in the backseat of a police car, you have the right to remain silent.
If you’re not in custody, the police do not need to read you the Miranda Rights, however, you still have the right to remain silent. The difference is that if you are in custody and make statements without being read your Miranda rights, your lawyer may be able to have your statements suppressed. But if you make statements after being read your rights, your statements will be used against you later. If you are facing charges, contact George Reres Law, P.A. at 954-543-1186 as soon as possible.
What Are Your Miranda Rights?
By law, police officers are required to read you your Miranda Rights before questioning you if the questions are reasonably likely to lead to incriminatory answers. However, understanding those rights ahead of time can help you if you are ever detained or arrested.
Your Miranda Rights are as follows:
- You have the right to remain silent. Anything you do say can and will be used against you in court.
- If you start answering police questions, you can stop answering at any time.
- You have the right to talk to a lawyer before questioning and have them present during questioning. If you are unable to afford an attorney, the court will appoint you one.
- If you start to answer questions without a lawyer and then decide you do want a lawyer, you can stop the questioning and request a lawyer at any time.
In most cases, a police officer will read you your rights while you are being arrested or before you are questioned. However, if you are not in police custody, officers may not read you your rights before asking you questions. Even if an officer does not read you your rights, you still have the right to remain silent in police custody.
What Should You Say When Being Questioned by the Police?
When talking to the police, you should always have an attorney present. Even if you are not guilty of the crime you are being accused of or charged with, having a legal representative on your side is essential.
If a police officer questions you at any point, say one of the following phrases:
- “I am invoking my 5th Amendment right. I do not wish to speak without legal counsel.”
- “Am I under arrest?”
- “Am I free to leave?”
- “I do not consent to any searches.”
If an officer asks your name, you must identify yourself. However, you do not have to answer any further questions under the law. By asking if you are free to leave, you are forcing the police officer to decide whether there is enough evidence to detain or arrest you. If not, simply walk away and contact our legal team for further assistance.
Should You Cooperate With Police After Remaining Silent?
If you are in police custody, you will likely remain in custody even after invoking your right to silence. Just because you have elected to remain silent does not mean you should provoke officers or not comply with them. It is essential to always remain physically cooperative with police officers even if you are remaining silent. Not doing so can add further charges to the ones you are facing, even if you believe that the officers are being unfair or unjust.
What if Your Rights Were Not Read?
By law, officers are required to read you your Miranda Rights before asking you questions if you are in custody. However, some officers may neglect to do this or forget to read you your rights. If this happens, it’s possible that whatever you say to law enforcement officers in their custody cannot be used against you at trial. It’s important to note, however, that all other evidence collected against you can be used to convict you in court.
There are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if a life-or-death emergency happens and officers do not have time to read you your rights, the court may grant an exception. In that case, if you choose to answer an officer’s questions, what you say could be used against you.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
If you’re being interrogated by police and are in custody, it’s critical that you immediately say you are using your right to remain silent. If you’re not in custody, but the police are asking you questions, you can still protect yourself by saying that you are uncomfortable answering questions without an attorney present to advise you. In both situations, you should request to speak to your lawyer before you talk to the police.
If you don’t have a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer yet, call George Reres Law, P.A., at 954-543-1186 to get the legal help you deserve today.