You Have the Right to Remain Silent – Use It!

LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS

We all know the Miranda rights – “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you…” Even though we know we have the right sometimes we don’t use it. Maybe because the person believes they can talk their way out of any trouble or maybe as Ron White said, “I had the right to remain silent, but I didn’t have the ability.” Pretty sure intoxication was the factor in his story, but drunk dialing or drunk chatting with the police is generally not a good idea.

They really mean it when they say anything you say can and will be used against you in a Court of law.  Whatever you say to law enforcement is noted.   For instance, during a DWI arrest asking the officer, “Do you feel like a hero now?”  That makes the report.   Also gains you some extra fines or community service.

Another common scenario, during your ride to the police station telling the officers all the reasons your arrest is wrong, those get recorded.   Your phone call from the jail it is recorded, just like the sign posted right next to the phone says.  Not to mention the irritating robo voice that reminds you frequently the call can be monitored and recorded.  It is recorded and provided to your defense attorney.  It is now evidence.

Interviews and Interrogations

“Anybody who understands what goes on during a police interrogation asks for a lawyer and shuts up,” ― James Duane, You Have the Right to Remain Innocent

It is a very rare occurrence that an attorney would advise you to meet with the police for an interview, especially without the attorney present.   A good rule of thumb is if you are being asked in for an interview where you could be a suspect or person of interest – DO NOT go without an attorney.  If you get there and are being asked to waive your Miranda rights do not sign the waiver, ask for your attorney.  The interview stops the moment you invoke your right to counsel.

The fact you are being asked to waive rights is an absolute clue that there is the possibility of arrest.  It is also an indicator that without your statement or confession there is not sufficient evidence for arrest.   Most people are arrested prior to being asked to interview or make a statement.  Most times there is sufficient evidence for arrest from witnesses, physical evidence, video/audio recordings and other investigation to make an arrest without ever talking to the suspect.  If the police need a confession to make an arrest, the case is probably not strong on its own merit.  That is why you should ALWAYS ask for an attorney.

I hear lots of reasons why people chose to make statements without an attorney.  The most common thing I hear, “Innocent people don’t need attorneys.”  Really?  You say you are innocent, yet at the end of the interview you got arrested.  Your words can be twisted.  You can say things that you think sound reasonable, that the officer doesn’t find reasonable at all. If you are being questioned about a crime, they are looking to make an arrest.  That officer has a job.  The job is to solve a crime by arrest.

Your words often come back to haunt you.  Your attorney can attempt to have your statement suppressed, so that the statement can’t be used at a trial.  However, there are only a few exceptions that allow the statement to be suppressed.  Rarely does the Court rule that the statement is inadmissible.   The real problem here is that if your statement needs suppressed, you already got arrested and the suppression hearing does not come quick.   Procedurally a suppression hearing comes way down the road after arrest.  You could spend a considerable amount of time in jail or out on bond before there is ever a hearing about your statement.

You have an absolute right against self-incrimination and an absolute right to have an attorney present for questioning.   Invoke your rights, and get an attorney with the requisite experience and knowledge to help you decide if an interview is in your best interest.   REMAIN SILENT!

Comments

  1. This is very good information. I think it is easy to get tripped up with knowing that we are innocent and thinking that everyone else will see things the way we do. But remembering that that is not necessarily the case will go far in keeping us protected should this situation ever arise. Thank you for some great advice!

  2. Very interesting, this is very helpful. Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us!

  3. Ane says:

    Truly, loose lips sink ships, but shutting up – it’s one of the hardest things to do! But it’s so human nature to want to say things especially when they think they are right or they are innocent. This is definitely an informative post. 🙂

  4. Laura G says:

    I am always baffled at how much people talk. I love your advice. Hopefully I never need to use it, but should come the time, I would try my best not to say a word without my attorney present!

  5. Nyxie says:

    Very interesting post. I’ve never thought of this but I suppose it’s good to have in mind should I ever need it.

  6. Tara Pittman says:

    This is good advice. A attorney will help you through the mess.

  7. Karen says:

    Great post, everyone needs to know their own rights!

  8. I loved how much I learn from just a couple paragraphs. Thank you for your advice, and for giving me a new perspective! I loved how

  9. Katie Beck says:

    This is definitely good advice – though I def think Ron White has a point…I don’t know if many have the ability to remain silent. The urge to talk, for me anyways, even being innocent would be so great I don’t know if I could control the compulsion to talk – lol!

  10. Christine G says:

    Great information in this post. Another good reason not to talk to police – even if you are innocent, is because you may not know all the laws and because of this be subject to intimidation and long hours of a grueling interrogation process that will end with you possibly willing to do anything to get out of that room. Consulting with an attorney is always the best choice.

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