You’ve seen interrogations on television where suspects are informed of their right to remain silent and their right to an attorney. These are a part of your Miranda rights, which stemmed from a Supreme Court case that spoke to the protection of certain Constitutional rights.
Yet, even though most people have a basic understanding of their Miranda rights, the nuances of these protections is often lost. This can put you at risk of incriminating yourself when you’re questioned by the police. Therefore, if you want to protect yourself as much as possible from aggressive law enforcement tactics, then we encourage you to read on.
The extent of your right to remain silent
Although the reading of your Miranda rights informs you of your right to remain silent, you should realize that you have a Constitutional right against self-incrimination. Therefore, you are never required to talk to the police, regardless of what investigators tell you.
This can be tricky to remember, especially given that law enforcement officers only have to read you your Miranda rights in certain circumstances. The state of the law only requires you to be informed of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney if you’re subjected to custodial interrogation.
What constitutes custodial interrogation?
Custodial interrogation occurs when you’re questioned by the police during a time when you’re not free to leave. If the situation makes it unclear whether you’re being interrogated while in custody, simply ask if you’re free to leave. If you are, then you should probably do so. If you’re not, then you should be informed of your rights and act on them accordingly.
Asking this question can be extremely important because the police will oftentimes try to conduct an interrogation under the guise of a friendly conversation. But don’t fall for these strategies. Make sure that you’re utilizing your rights so that you can fully protect yourself.
What if your Miranda rights were violated?
If your rights were violated and incriminating evidence was obtained as a result, then you may be able to suppress that evidence, meaning that you may be able to block the prosecution from using that evidence against you. This is true even if you made a full-blown confession. So, carefully consider the circumstances surrounding your questioning to determine if you have a strong legal defense strategy available to you through suppression.
What to do if you haven’t been questioned yet?
If you haven’t been questioned by the police yet but you’re suspecting that you will be, then you should prepare to act on your rights. Talking to the police is rarely in your best interests, so you’re probably best off invoking your right to remain silent and seeking assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney. This can instantly shut down the interrogation and stunt the investigation.
But you should still be aware of your rights and common law enforcement tactics so that you’re not tricked into talking to the police when they act as if they’re just seeking information or trying to clarify something. Remember, even seemingly innocent conversations can lead to you being under suspicion and receiving criminal charges.
Seek out the assistance that you need in your case
The best way to protect your interests in a criminal case is to appropriately address police tactics early on. Sometimes waiting until formal charges are levied is too late.
Therefore, if you’re worried that you’re going to be questioned by the police and potentially be charged with criminal wrongdoing, then you may want to consider having a criminal defense attorney by your side throughout the process so that you can protect your interests and your future as fully as possible.