When an individual is arrested, Miranda rights are recited. These rights include two basic concepts – the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during interrogation. This means that, before you have an opportunity to meet with a criminal lawyer for the first time, you’ll need to go through the process of being arrested alone. Because you don’t have an attorney to represent and protect your rights, not only are you allowed to remain silent, but you absolutely should.
According to Find Law, “Law enforcement officers must inform suspects of their Miranda rights…as long as the suspect understood these rights as explained, statements made in subsequent interrogation may be admissible as evidence against the suspect if he or she did not clearly invoke the right to remain silent or the right to an attorney.” These complex phrases mean little or nothing to those being arrested, and police will take advantage of that misunderstanding.
There are several ways to invoke your right. The simplest way is to tell your interrogator, in no uncertain terms, that you want to use your Miranda right to remain silent. You can also state that you want to speak with an attorney, that you’ll only speak to your attorney, or that you want to remain silent. A reasonable police officer, as decided by the Supreme Court, will understand what your statement means.
What Happens Next?
Once you’ve invoked your right to silence, all police questioning must stop until you’ve had an opportunity to speak with a criminal lawyer.
Taking it Further
In 2008, James Duane, a professor at Virginia’s Regent Law School, gave a lecture about the risks of speaking to police. This lecture was filmed, posted, and shared around the country.
“His argument…is that even if you haven’t committed a crime, it’s dangerous to tell the police any information. You might make mistakes when explaining where you were at the time of a crime that the police interpret as lies; the officer talking to you could misremember what you say much later; you may be tricked into saying the wrong things by cops under no obligation to tell you the truth…” an article on Vice reads.
The list goes on. Duane says that, outside of legally pertinent information, all interactions with the police should be silent.
We suggest speaking with a criminal lawyer to get a full picture of your rights and how to use them.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Lawyer in Washington DC
If you feel you’ve been mistreated by the police, or fear to navigate through the justice system alone, contact our experienced Washington DC legal team, the McDaniel Law Group, at (202)-873-9244. Your rights matter – and we’ll fight tooth and nail to help defend them.