Especially in Domestic Violence situations, asserting your right to remain silent amid questioning can be the difference between a guilty and a not guilty. These are fundamental rights protected by law and should be utilized.
INFORMATION ON YOUR RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
WHAT TO KNOW WHEN BEING QUESTIONED BY POLICE AT ANY TIME:
Often times, our first instinct when speaking with law enforcement is to explain. Explain why, explain how. This is often a mistake. For the most part, officers are not interested in what you have to say. They have an executive job, and that job is to arrest and allow judicial courts to sort out the truth later. Your job is to tell your story for trial or for pre-trial. By remaining silent, you are maximizing the chances of explaining your story later when it matters most.
Your Miranda rights include two basic rights: the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during interrogation.
You must INVOKE the right to remain silent. Silence alone will NOT trigger the right to stop questioning. This also applies to invoking your right to an attorney, it must actually be invoked.
Invoking the Right to Remain Silent and Police Protocol
Law enforcement officers must inform you of your Miranda rights to remain silent and to have an attorney present. As long as you understood these rights as explained to you, any statement you make to police may be used against you if you did not clearly invoke the right to remain silent or the right to an attorney.
This means that if police read your Miranda rights, provided you understand them but simply remain silent, police may continue or later attempt to interrogate the suspect. The Fifth Amendment will not prevent statements made after a period of silence from being used as evidence, unless you clearly communicated a desire to invoke the right to remain silent.
Even if you failed to properly invoke the right to remain silent, it must be established that you WAIVED those rights in order for statements made during interrogation to be admissible as evidence against you. However, this waiver does not need to be explicit. You may inadvertently waive your right to remain silent if you proceed to make voluntary statements after being informed of and understanding your Miranda rights. So make sure to be clear in asserting them!
NOW LETS LOOK AT HOW TO INVOKE THOSE RIGHTS- EFFECTIVELY
How Can You Clearly Invoke Your Right To Remain Silent?
Perhaps the clearest way to invoke your right to remain silent is to tell the police, "I invoke my Miranda right to remain silent." However, there are other ways to clearly invoke. For example, among other things, you can state:
• That you're exercising your right to remain silent;
• That you want to remain silent;
• That you only want to speak with your attorney; or
• That you want to speak with your attorney first.
While there are no specific words required to invoke, the courts have held that an invocation is sufficient so long as "a reasonable police officer, in the circumstances, would understand the statement to be a request for an attorney."
One thing to be careful with are statements indicating a likely intent or a future intent to invoke your right to silence. For example, the Supreme Court has determined that the statement, "maybe I should talk to a lawyer" is ambiguous and doesn't constitute an invocation.
Skilled interrogators understand how to flip your words and create ambiguity, you should leave them as little room for this as possible.
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