We have all heard the familiar phrases “you have the right to an attorney, you have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can and will be used against you”. But how often do people really keep their lips sealed when being placed under arrest? All too often people believe they can “talk their way out” of a ticket, or even an arrest. The problem with this thought process is that it requires talking, and when faced with the possibility of going to jail a lot of people think the more they say the more likely they are to escape an arrest. However, nothing could be further from the truth, and the things you say that are used in the case against you are not limited to just the arrest itself.
Unfortunately there are many people that believe the Miranda rights are an ongoing protection against chatting with an officer or detective. This is simply not the case. Here are three good reasons why you have the right to remain silent…and should:
- Conversations overhead in the back of a patrol car can be used as evidence against you. Fight the urge to break the awkward silence, because talking to the patrolman about where y you’ve been and what you’ve been doing will only hurt you later.
- If you are using a phone at the jail, keep your comments to a minimum and relay only basic and necessary information to the person on the other line. Calls at prisons and jails are often recorded, and what you say can come back to haunt you.
- Talking to a detective while waiting for your attorney to arrive is also a bad idea. You may think you are saving time by getting some of the facts out there before your attorney arrives, but in reality all you are doing is giving the detective valuable information that he might be able to hold against you in Court.
It is also important to know that if you waive your rights, you can invoke them later. If you have agreed to talk and during the conversation believe it is in your best interests to remain silent, you can advise the interrogator that you no longer wish to speak without an attorney present. You should also know that the police are not always required to give you the warnings, but that does not mean you shouldn’t exercise caution with your words. Many arrests are made without the Miranda warnings being given, and this has been found to be within the letter of the law. The key is whether you are being questions or interrogated. If so, you have the right to stay silent…and should!
If you have questions about your rights as a criminal defendant, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.