The “right to remain silent” granted by the Firth Amendment is one of the most widely-recognized rights provided to people through the United States Constitution. It is always something that shows up in television and movies when someone gets put into handcuffs, and the “Miranda rights” it establishes can probably be recited by most any adult in the country. With the prominence of the right to remain silent, is it really something you should invoke when detained or arrested?
For the most part, the answer is a resounding yes. When you are detained by the police, they are looking for a reason to justify an arrest. That is to say, detainment is the precursor to being put into handcuffs rather than just being a way to keep you in place for a while. The more you say when you are detained, the more likely you will say something that sounds suspicious and could give the police an opportunity to say they had established probable cause to make an arrest.
If you have already been arrested, you should still use your right to stay silent. Once you are arrested, the law enforcement agent already sees you as guilty, or else they would not have made the arrest in the first place. At that point, they just want to help the court or prosecutor in the future by getting more evidence out of you to use in the case against you. Anything you say “can and will be used against you,” after all.
It is best not to say anything that could incriminate you. Open-ended questions are particularly risky and should be met with respectful silence. You can say something like, “I am invoking my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent until given an opportunity to speak with my attorney.” Keep in mind that some questions with direct answers should be met with a response, like “What is your name?”
Also, it is important to realize that the Fifth Amendment protects everyone in the country, including criminals and undocumented immigrants. If you get stopped by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who want to grill you about why you are in the country, then you can use your inherited right to remain silent, even if you know you are in the country illegally. Not telling too much to ICE is often the first step in a successful deportation defense.
San Diego Attorney Protecting the Accused
Have you been accused of a serious crime, or of illegal immigration? Do you think you said too much to law enforcement? Or, did you say not much but now need help from a defense attorney right away?
Call (619) 332-1703 to connect with Rodriguez Law Firm in San Diego. We proudly take criminal and deportation defense cases to protect the rights of the accused in Southern California. Schedule your free case evaluation to begin today!