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4 Facts About Your Right to Remain Silent


For most people, the very familiar phase is something you never want a Delaware law enforcement officer to say to you. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law.” This language means you are under arrest because police have probable cause to believe that you committed a crime. The statement is a result of the US Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda v. Arizona, which is why it is called the Miranda warning.

The words seem simple, yet they form one of the most complex concepts in criminal law. The implications of your right to remain silent, and of officers violating it, are extremely important. Unless you have a legal background, you may not understand how certain factors could impact the outcome of your case. Retaining a Wilmington criminal defense attorney is critical if you have concerns about your rights, but a summary may be helpful.

  1. Your Fifth Amendment Rights: The right to remain silent comes from this Amendment in the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution, which states that you cannot be compelled to be a witness against yourself in a criminal case. The language means you cannot be forced to make statements that could be self-incriminating, so you have the right to not say a word. 
  1. Failure to Read Miranda Rights: Police are only required to state the Miranda warnings when they take you into custody and are interrogating you with questions that could lead to a self-incriminating answer. If they do not read these, any statements you make during questioning could be tossed out of court.

However, the best practice is to not answer or make any statements. Request to contact your criminal defense attorney right away.

  1. What Happens If You Do Not Remain Silent: The Miranda warnings include information on what will occur if you do make statements. Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law. You could potentially be giving the prosecution more evidence to get a conviction, even if you are professing your innocence. Do not say anything, whether in response to questions or freely speaking. 
  1. What to Do After You Hear Your Miranda Warnings: If you hear the familiar phrases, you are being taken into custody, possibly for questioning or already under arrest. In either situation, your first priority is to exercise your right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment. Contact an attorney right away. In addition, when arrested, you should never resist the police. You could be adding to the charges you already face.

Reach Out to a Delaware Criminal Defense Lawyer

Together, these factors about the right to remain silent should stress a crucial point. You should never talk to police after an arrest, though always be respectful and cooperative. To learn more about your rights, please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica. You can set up a consultation at our Wilmington, DE office by calling 302.600.1262 or going online.



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