Whether you’ve heard it in a movie or learned it from a television show most people are aware that when a police officer is bringing someone into custody their first words will normally be “You have the right to remain silent.” This is the first line spoken when being given your Miranda rights, rights that help enforce the Fifth Amendment which helps protect you against self-incrimination. These rights must be given anytime you are in custody and being interrogated which can include any situation where the police are aware that their words and/or actions may elicit an incriminating response. While this may sound easy enough to understand the definitions of “custody” can mean different things, and police officers have ways of asking questions when you are not technically in custody which means they do not have to inform you of your rights. These are just a few reasons why it is so important to know how to invoke your right to remain silent.
Informing You of Your Rights
As stated before police officers must give you your rights with Miranda warnings anytime they interrogate a person who is in custody. It is because of this that police officers often can let a suspect know that they are not under arrest and free to leave whenever they want, and in turn they can then ask incriminating questions without first advising them of their rights as they are not technically being interrogated. By remaining silent through the process you may think you are using your right to remain silent as intended whether they give you your Miranda rights or not. However, the only way to properly invoke those rights is to explicitly say to the officers something to the effect of, “I am invoking my rights against self-incrimination.” Basically this means that by just saying silent you are not properly using your privilege to say silent, you must openly admit that you are doing so to the officers or it may be held against you and brought up in court at a later date.
This is also the case when you are in custody and have actually been given your Miranda rights and then still choose to say nothing. Just because you are given the right to remain silent does not mean by being silent you are using that right. If you wish to invoke this privilege you need to speak up and say you are doing so to the officers, otherwise if you stay silent while under custody yet after a long time decide to answer a question if they find your answer incriminates you the court will still find that your statement is admissible.
Contact a Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney Today
It is not easy for a regular citizen to be completely familiar with all aspects of the law which is why you need an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and stand up for your rights in court. Contact Purchase, George & Murphey P.C. by calling today or via our convenient online contact form to learn more.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.