Your Right to Remain Silent
The purpose of this article is to discuss your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Those who understand and respect the history of our country and the intentions of our Founding Fathers view this naturally-endowed right as being coextensive with the rights of life, liberty, and property. The police, however, view this right as an impediment, and if you Know Your Rights, then their attempts to deceive you into waiving this right will be ineffective.
I wrote this article because most people have heard of the “right to remain silent,” but no one has actually educated people on how important this right really is. As a Fairfax criminal defense attorney, the Fifth Amendment is an integral component of my day-to-day work. But being an attorney is not just about going to court – I also have a duty to help educate the public on their constitutional rights.
The Miranda Rule
In the seminal case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the United States Supreme Court held that statements which are made by a suspect during a custodial interrogation will be admissible only when the prosecution can show that the defendant was informed of their right against self-incrimination (their right to remain silent), and their right to an attorney prior to the police’s interrogation. Accordingly, when law enforcement fails to Mirandize a suspect, all statements made during the interrogation will be thrown out. And although the entire case will not be dismissed, it is important to realize that without any potentially incriminating statements by the accused, the prosecution’s case becomes infinitely more difficult to prove.
When to Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent
Here is the truth: You should always exercise your right to remain silent when law enforcement questions you about anything. If they ask to see your driver’s license or ask you your name, you should give it to them, but past that, you should say nothing more. You see, law enforcement will employ deceptive tactics in order to trick you into giving up your right to remain silent. Whatever tactics they try to use, do not waiver in exercising your right to remain silent.
No matter what the police say or do, just remember one thing: They are not trying to help you. They are trying to charge you with a crime! Police are trained to employ an assortment of different tactics to get you to incriminate yourself, so you have to be aware of this and politely invoke your right to remain silent. Do not answer ANY questions. If you invoke your right to remain silent, you will greatly reduce the chance of an arrest. If you are arrested, invoking your right to remain silent will help preserve important defenses your Fairfax criminal lawyer can use in court to help have the charges dismissed.
If you believe that you were convicted of a crime as a result of an improperly or illegally obtained confession, contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa for a free consultation with a Virginia appeals lawyer who will be able to determine whether you might be able to have the conviction overturned.
Other Articles on Your Constitutional Rights
- Your Right to an Attorney
- What is Considered a “Search”?
- Vehicle Searches
- Stop and Frisk Searches
- Never Consent to Searches
- Suppressing Evidence Under the Exclusionary Rule
- Know Your Rights
Contact a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been charged with a crime and believe the police may have violated your right to remain silent and continued to ask you questions after you have invoked that right, you will want to speak with an aggressive and affordable criminal defense attorney in Fairfax VA. Contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa today for a free consultation with a Fairfax criminal lawyer. 571-354-6164
Virginia Inmate Search
Fairfax County Adult Detention Center
Fairfax County Police Department
Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office
Fairfax County General District Court
Fairfax County Circuit Court
By: Randall Sousa