How to Correctly Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
If you are ever in a situation where you are being detained by law enforcement, you have several rights available to you. In the event of an arrest, the officer is required by law to recite them to you, but they apply in any case in which you are not allowed to leave the interrogation. However, there is a proper way to exercise these rights.
What Are My Rights?
You are guaranteed the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Take advantage of them! You risk incriminating yourself by speaking to an officer on the record without legal advice.
The right to an attorney is for EVERYONE, regardless of your financial situation. If you cannot afford one, a lawyer will be provided to you. That being said, you cannot be picky about your counsel if you accept help from a public defender. If the court assigns you an attorney, that is your lawyer for the case.
Respectfully Invoking Your Rights
You MUST announce that you exercise your right to remain silent and demand an attorney. If you fail to do so, the prosecution could use your silence against you as evidence of guilt. Remember to be firm but respectful, and know that you are well within your rights to refuse questioning without an attorney present. After your declaration, law enforcement is required to stop all questioning.
Once you’ve stated that you are employing the 5th Amendment, stop talking! No more explaining your situation to the police officer. Wait for an attorney to be present before you share information that could seriously damage your case.
When Can I Declare Silence?
If law enforcement asks you for basic identification information, you must answer them. This typically just includes your full name and possibly an address. After you identify yourself, you may assert your act of silence.
In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to lessen the consequences of officers who fail to deliver proper Miranda rights, it is crucial for each individual to be knowledgeable about their privileges as a US citizen. You are still entitled to silence and a lawyer! If you find yourself in a situation that requires an experienced attorney, call Ryan Holloway & Miller at (406) 542-2233 for legal assistance.