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Reasons Why You Should Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

Americans are generally aware of the right to remain silent, often from scenes in movies and TV shows. The declaration is rooted in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and is part of Miranda rights.

Attorney Christopher J. Cherella suggests you tell the police you are exercising your right to remain silent and that you want to speak with your attorney. There are potential downsides to speaking with the police without first consulting with a criminal defense attorney.

Silence Prevents Self-Incrimination

Human nature drives people to defend themselves. This inclination is often true with police interactions, too. If law enforcement asks you questions, you might be tempted to “talk yourself” out of trouble. Explaining yourself to the police can do more harm than good. Police are listening to you with an ear for any information that could potentially point to your guilt.

The police are typically trying to build a case against someone. If they are asking questions, that someone might be you. They may act as if they are on their side, but they are hoping you say something that can be used against you.

Protocol demands law enforcement to recite your Miranda rights sometime after the arrest but before they begin the interrogation. If you have not been taken into custody, the police can ask you all the questions they want without informing you of your rights. While they are not legally obligated to inform you of your rights, you have the right to not answer their questions and ask for a lawyer.

Confessing May Not Be in Your Best Interests

The police do not have to be honest with you. They can tell you they have mountains of evidence against you when they do not. They can say someone else had flipped on you when they did not. Or maybe you think you will get a lighter sentence if you immediately come forward. Whatever your reason for confessing, the desired outcome is improbable. Confession to even low-level misdemeanors can have consequences you did not consider.

Let Attorney Cherella ferret out what evidence they have. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a plea bargain to a reduced charge might be possible or perhaps charges are thrown out altogether. Our team can explain the risks and benefits of certain actions. A confession is difficult to toss out and greatly limits the possible options.

Invoking the Right to Silence Cannot Be Used Against You

You might think not talking to the police will make you look guilty. No matter what others might say, including the court of public opinion, exercising your right to remain silent cannot be used against you.

One of the purposes of the right is to prevent law enforcement from pressuring people into confessions. If your case goes to court, a prosecutor cannot use the fact you did not speak with the police as evidence of guilt in a criminal court proceeding.

Clearly Exercise Your Miranda Rights

If you do not want to speak with the police without your attorney, you must clearly state so. Wishy-washy phrases like, “maybe I should speak with my attorney,” and “I’m not sure I should speak with you” do not definitively tell police that you are invoking your right to silence. Be straightforward and state that you will not speak with the police without first speaking to your attorney. Or tell them you are invoking your right to remain silent.

Let Our Attorney Do the Talking

At the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella, we protect the rights of our clients through effective and skilled negotiation with prosecutors. Our experience leads us to better use the law to benefit your case. If you are being questioned by police before or after an arrest, contact our office to represent you.

Schedule a consultation with Attorney Cherella. Call (414) 882-8382. We offer legal advice 24/7.