Written by attorney Luke H. Neuville

Why you should always exercise your right to remain silent

A common question from clients is whether the police violated their Constitution rights by failing to read the Miranda warning, which states that you: (1) You have the right to remain silent, (2) Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, (3) You have the right to an attorney, (4) If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

Under Federal and Minnesota law, the police are not obligated to read you your Miranda rights until you are in custody, or the functional equivalent. In other words, if you have not been arrested and the police are still gathering information about a case, the law generally does not require reading of Miranda rights and statements you make to the police may be used against you in court.

Even if you are not in custody or under arrest, you should always exercise your right to remain silent if you’re the target of a criminal investigation. If the police come to your home or place of employment to ask you questions about an incident, you should respectfully decline to provide information until you have had an opportunity to speak with an attorney.

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