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What you need to know about your right to remain silent

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | Criminal Defense

If you’re under investigation or suspect that the police will come knocking soon, now is the time to start thinking about your criminal defense. This is because far too many people end up talking themselves into trouble when they interact with the police well before any formal criminal charges are levied against them. With that in mind, it’s imperative that you know how to interact with the police and understand your rights.

What is your right to remain silent?

We’ve all seen the television shows and movies where individuals are told that they have the right to remain silent. But what does that actually mean?

It means exactly what it says. You have a Constitutional right against self-incrimination, which means that you don’t have to say anything that may implicate you in a crime. So, even if the police try to trick you into talking, you should stay quiet until you’ve had the opportunity to speak with your attorney.

How the police try to get you to talk

Even though you have the right to remain silent, the police are going to try to get around informing you of that right or otherwise trick you into talking. See, the police only have to inform you of your right to remain silent if you’re being subjected to custodial interrogation, meaning that you’re in police custody, you’re unable to leave and you’re being questioned.

So, with that in mind, here are some of the tactics that the police try to use to get people like you to talk:

  • Question you outside the confines of a custodial interrogation so that you don’t have to be informed of your rights.
  • Buddy up to you so that you feel like you need to give the police information to help them out.
  • Threaten you with harsher charges or penalties to coerce you into talking.
  • Threaten you with physical violence if you refuse to share information.
  • Promise to go light on you if you agree to talk to the police and provide them information about the crime in question.
  • Lie to you to make you think that you need to try to explain away any suspicions.

Keep in mind, that the police are going to do whatever they can to get a conviction. They might be dishonest, twist your words and coerce you to talk. But regardless of what they say, your right to remain silent is absolute, and they can’t take it away from you.

How do you know if you’re being subject to custodial interrogation?

If you’re unsure of the status of your questioning, you simply need to ask if you’re free to leave. If the police say “yes,” you’re not being subject to custodial interrogation, and you should leave immediately. If you are being held in custody while being questioned, you should refrain from talking and ask for an attorney.

Don’t be tricked into a criminal conviction

You’ve got a lot to lose in your criminal case. With so much on the line, you don’t want to be tricked into saying something that you didn’t mean to say, and you’ll want to protect your interests as fully as possible.

To do so, you may need to discuss the circumstances of your case with a criminal defense attorney who has a track record of success in handling these kinds of cases. With one of these strong advocates on your side, you may be able to develop the defense strategy that you need to aggressively fight back against the prosecution and avoid the harsh penalties being threatened against you.