BLOG: You Have the Right to Remain Silent?

5th Amendment, Right to Remain Silent.

You have the Right to Remain Silent. Our fifth amendment right.  We all know these words.  Hopefully, not from first hand experience.  Television is the preferable way.  But, if you've had the unfortunately luxury of hearing these words first hand.  How did you feel?  Did you really feel like you had the right to remain silent?

It's instinctual, as humans, if we feel we're innocent, the first thing we do is to try to clear our names and place the blame where it really belongs.  In the context of criminal law, trying to clear your name can at times work against you.  When an officer is Mirandizing you, and they're telling you that "you have the right to remain silent", for your protection, INVOKE THAT RIGHT!  Don't say another word until you've spoken with an attorney and your attorney is present.

However, if you start talking before you're Mirandized and the police have not questioned you, those words may be used against you, because technically, you have offered that information voluntarily, and you HAVE NOT invoked your right. That confession may be thrown out in court, but to avoid the chance of it being allowed in, just zip those lips.  That is unless you did do something illegal, you decide that you want to be honest about what happened, and further are willing to live with the consequences of your actions.

In the state of Maryland, in order for your Miranda Rights to be waived, it has to be "knowing and intelligent" and "voluntary".  Specifically, in many cases, you will fill out a form and you will sign it, which evidences your knowledge that you knowingly waived your right and will proceed with your confession or with answering questions from officers.  However, it all depends on the circumstances under which you decided to start talking whether it will be deemed "knowing and intelligent" and "voluntary."  If you truly want the best defense from an attorney, invoke your right, do not waive it, and follow the instructions your attorney gives you.

Many times, there is enough evidence to convict you even without your confession or questioning, so dont think that invoking your right saves you from the pen completely.

You do have the right to remain silent, so why not use it?


Please visit us at www.mysmithlegal.com for more information other areas of law. Give Smith Legal Services a call for your consultation at 240-245-0015.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Apollyon July 05, 2012 at 11:50 PM
I believe the preferable way should be to read the bill of rights and the constitution.


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