Written by attorney Theodore W. Robinson

What is 5th Amendment all about and why does it matter to me? Part 2

Yoiu see, whenever a police officer starts to ask anyone questions, they must advise that person that "Anything they say, can, and will, be used against them in a court of law" thus, giving them a fair warning that this isn't just an everyday conversation. This is an official police questioning and they should be careful about what they say from that point forward. Beforehand, the police will tell a suspect something to the effect of "You have the right to remain silent." and that means exactly what it means. You never have to answer any questions posed by any police officer. Of course, as a practical matter, if you fail or refuse to say anything in response, there's a good likelihood they will detain you or arrest you. Another approach is to acknowledge their warning and then respectfully tell them "I understand your warning and respectfully decline to say anything further without aide of counsel." This is in response to the rest of the warning the police will usually give you which is something to the effect of: "You have the right to an attorney at all times in the proceedings. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you." This is usually part of the Miranda warnings. Why this matters to you is because if you're smart, you will keep quiet and simply say you respectfully decline to speak with them. Otherwise, if you do speak with them, a lot of very bad things can often happen to you - and not much good can come of it.

Free Q&A with lawyers in your area

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer