Do you know about your right to remain silent?
Your Miranda rights – or the Miranda warning – are something that you likely know even if you have never had a run-in with the law before. This is because of its prevalence in shows and movies featuring law enforcement.
But how much do you actually know about your right to remain silent? If you were to end up in police custody, would you know how to protect yourself?
Knowing your Fifth Amendment rights
The United States Courts talks about your right to remain silent and all related information. First, you must know that you are actually protected at all times under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution from self-incrimination. This means you never have to talk to anyone, including law enforcement.
However, law enforcement only needs to remind you of this either as they are putting you under custody – i.e., if they are arresting you – or right before a custodial interrogation. This is an interrogation that you cannot get up and leave from.
How to approach custodial interrogations
How do you tell if you are in a custodial interrogation? If you are in a police officer’s car or have handcuffs on, chances are high that it is a custodial interrogation. On the other hand, you can just as easily check by simply asking the officer if you are free to go. They have a legal obligation to answer you honestly.
You should then invoke your rights by verbalizing your intention, leaving no room for questions or doubts about what you plan on doing. Then, do not speak further because prosecutors can use anything you say voluntarily against you both in and out of the custodial interview.