Our Monroe NC Criminal Attorney Discusses the Importance of Knowing your Rights

If you have been arrested on criminal charges, contact your Monroe NC criminal attorney before speaking to anyone else. Having your experienced criminal attorney by your side during your questioning could impact the future of your case. Knowing your rights is of the utmost importance. When arrested, it is important to remember that you have the right to remain silent as to not incriminate yourself any further. The following information from your Monroe NC criminal attorney discusses your Miranda rights, including your right to remain silent. If you have any further questions about your Miranda rights, contact your Monroe NC criminal attorney for a consultation.

Knowing Your Rights and Why They Are Important

Anyone who watches television or movies has certainly seen the police make an arrest. The cuffs go on and the cop begins to recite their lines, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” These lines are the beginning of what is known as your Miranda rights. The Miranda rights are your legal rights that should be read to you as you are being taken into police custody. These rights are in place because of a case known as Miranda v. Arizona. Due to the ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, it is now mandatory that police officers must advise you of the following when you are being arrested:

  • you have the right to remain silent and not further incriminate yourself
  • you have the right to call your attorney for a consultation
  • you have the right to have an attorney present during questioning
  • if you would like an attorney but cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you
  • you have the power to stop police questioning at any time

When Should You Be Advised of Your Rights

Your Miranda rights must be read to you are in police custody or if the police plan on questioning you. Keep your Miranda rights in mind during any sort of questions that they may ask you, not just those in an interrogation situation. This includes any line of questioning that could lead you to saying something that incriminates yourself. Being in police custody means that you are not free to leave whenever you want. One of the stipulations of the Miranda rights is that if you choose to remain silent, this cannot be assumed as an admission of guilt from you by the police or a court of law. There is a loophole to the Miranda law, however. It does not require your Miranda rights to be read if you are technically not in police custody, even if they are questioning you. Police officers will start this line of questioning out by first telling the person that they are not in custody, and in fact free to leave whenever they choose to. If you are being informally questioned by the police, unfortunately your right to remain silent is not as much of a right anymore.

What Your Right to Be Silent Really Means

In a 2013 United States Supreme Court decision, it was found that the right to remain silent while out-of-custody does not hold the same weight as it does once your Miranda rights have been read. Based on this recent ruling, if you are out-of-custody and refuse to answer any questions, it can be used as an admission of guilt by the prosecuting attorney. The prosecution will be able to comment on the silence in court on a suspect who:

  • is remaining silent without invoking their Fifth Amendment right
  • is not in police custody and has not been read their Miranda rights
  • is voluntarily answering questions from the police

If you find yourself in this situation and you would like to remain silent, you must tell the police officer that you are using your Fifth Amendment right by not saying anything that could incriminate yourself. A 2010 the United States Supreme Court made a ruling that a suspect who has been read their Miranda rights cannot just remain silent, they in fact have to tell the police that they are choosing to exercise their right to remain silent. If the suspect does not invoke their right to remain silent, then whatever they say can and will be used against them once they go to trial.

How to Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

While the 2013 United States Supreme Court ruling does not leave a lot of options for remaining silent while being questioned out-of-custody, you still have an option to exercise your right to remain silent. As stated above, you will need to explicitly tell the police officer who is questioning you that you choose to exercise your Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate yourself by answering their questions. If you choose to remain silent through your Fifth Amendment right, it cannot be brought up in a court of law during your trial. Be aware of your rights and what you need to do to protect yourself. Your rights are there to be used and invoked when needed. If you are picked up by the police for questioning and do not want to incriminate yourself, invoke your Fifth Amendment right. If you are read your Miranda rights and brought into custody, the first thing you should do is tell them that you are retaining your right to remain silent. The second thing is to place a call to your criminal attorney.

Schedule a Consultation with a Monroe NC Criminal Attorney

Having an experienced and skilled attorney working your case could have a huge impact on the outcome. Your Monroe NC criminal attorney has the knowledge and experience to help you get the most successful outcome. The Khan Law Offices have the Monroe NC criminal attorney who will help you fight for your rights in your criminal case. Call 704-774-6426 today to schedule your consultation!

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