The Importance of Knowing Your Right to Silence

The 5th Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees your right to silence if questioned by authorities. In part, it reads that “No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” As you can see, there is no “right to remain silent” but the protection against witnessing against yourself has the same effect. This Low Cost Legal guide to your Fifth Amendment rights addresses the importance of knowing your right to silence. Whether you are being questioned without the presence of a DUI Lawyer, speaking to a police officer about a robbery in your area, or just worried that you might say something that gets you into future trouble with the law, this guide to the right of silence will help you understand your rights.

The Purpose of the Right to Remain Silent

Your 5th Amendment rights demand that an accuser has a case against you that can be clearly demonstrated and proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law. If you’re accused, you don’t need to prove a negative – that you did not commit a crime. The accuser and prosecutor must show that you did the crime, if they can.

Reasons to Invoke your Right to Silence

Anything you say can be used against you. You have heard that many times on television and it’s true. If you didn’t commit a crime but state factual errors by accident, then those errors can be used in an attempt to show that you are a liar. Then, an overeager prosecutor trying to make a name for himself will use your misspeaking to discredit you when you say you didn’t do the crime. If you don’t say anything, you won’t misspeak, exaggerate or say something factually untrue, even by accident. It is also important to be careful of you say to an officer during a potential DUI stop. Saying you have been drinking “only a little” is admitting to drinking and then driving. Check our page on the top 10 websites for finding a good DUI lawyer.

Secondly, if a police officer questions you and you do a lot of talking, there’s a good chance the officer will get some of your testimony wrong. His or her records may be wrong, and those errors can be used against you. You can simply state, “I choose to remain silent” or “I’m invoking my 5th Amendment right not to speak to you.”

Miranda Rights and Your Right to Remain Silent

So-called Miranda rights have been adopted in most states now. They got their start in the 1966 case before the US Supreme Court, Miranda vs. Arizona. These rights state that an officer of the law is required to warn you that you have the right to silence and anything you say will be used to prosecute you.

Miranda rights are given to you only after you are placed under arrest. Until then, an officer is free to question you, but you also have the 5th Amendment right to remain silent.

A friend of mine who was a police office told me once “Tell’Em nothing”.

Understanding your right to silence and your Miranda Rights are essential whether you’re completely innocent or have committed a crime. They’re legal ways to protect your innocence or at the very least make sure you receive due process.