Does remaining silent mean I invoked my Miranda right to silence?

| Feb 26, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Detroit residents have likely seen enough police procedural dramas to know that a suspect must be read their Miranda rights before being questioned officially. This includes two basic rights: the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney while being interrogated. While many may know that one must unambiguously invoke it, they may not know the same is true for the right to remain silent.

Do I remain silent to invoke my Miranda rights?

When police officials inform suspects of their Miranda rights, they ensure that the suspect has understood what was told to him or her. If the suspect becomes quiet upon being told their rights, he or she may think that they have invoked their right to remain silent. They may then make statements after a period of silence, but believe it is not admissible since they remained silent for some time as well. however, those statements will be admissible as evidence against the suspect, unless the right to remain silent was unequivocally invoked.

The suspect must clearly inform officials of their intention to invoke their right to silence. While it is required that someone have waived their rights to allow their statements as evidence against them, this waiver does not have to be explicit. It can be enough that they continued to make voluntary statements after being told their rights.

What constitutes invocation of my right to remain silent?

The clearest way invoke one’s right to remain silent is to clearly state it. additionally, one can say they are going to stay silent, that they only want to speak to their attorney or that they will consult with their attorney before saying anything else. courts have demonstrated they will accept any statement that makes it clear to a reasonable police officer in the situation that the suspect was asking for an attorney. Ambiguous statements such as “maybe I want a lawyer” generally are not considered an invocation.

A skilled criminal defense lawyer will go through all the evidence to determine if it is admissible or not. Consulting one when being faced with criminal charges that have the potential to change one’s life might be one way to protect one’s rights.

 

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