There are two basic rights that you have whenever you are arrested by law enforcement, the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present when being questioned. In order to invoke your right to remain silent, you must unequivocally state that you are exercising this right. If you simply remain silent after you have been arrested, it does not activate your right to have your interrogation stopped.
Police have to inform a suspect of their right to remain silent and their right to an attorney. If you are explained and understand these rights, any statements you make when you are interrogated can be used as evidence against you. If police read you your Miranda rights and continue to interrogate you, any statements you make after a period of silence can be used as evidence, unless you clearly communicated your desire to invoke your 5th Amendment rights.
Even if you fail to remain silent or invoke your rights, it still needs to be proven that you waived your 5th amendment rights for the statements you made during an interrogation to be admissible as evidence in court.
How Do I Clearly Invoke My Right to Remain Silent?
A person’s body language can be ambiguous at times, which means you need to be direct when asserting your right to remain silent. The clearest way to enact your right to silence, is to tell the person interrogating you, “I invoke my Miranda right to remain silent.” You can also say the following things to invoke your right to remain silent:
- “I am exercising my right to remain silent”
- “I want to remain silent”
- “I only want to speak with my attorney”
- “ I want to speak with my attorney first”
The Supreme Court has ruled an invocation of the right to remain silent is sufficient as long as “a reasonable police officer, in the circumstances, would understand the statement to be a request for an attorney.”
You should be careful when making statements that indicate you intend or likely intend to invoke your right at a future time. For example, saying “Maybe I should speak with an attorney,” is too ambiguous to be considered an invocation of your rights.
Interrogators are skilled at twisting your words to create ambiguity, so it is wise to leave them no room for misunderstanding when invoking your rights. You can assert your right to remain silent as soon as you have been arrested, you do not have to wait to be read your Miranda rights.
Once you invoke your right to silence, police must cease their questioning. Continuing to interrogate you after you have said you want to remain silent is a violation of your rights.
Have you been arrested? Did police continue to interrogate you after you invoked your right to remain silent? We can help. Call (303) 747-4247, or contact our Denver criminal defense lawyers to set up your no-cost consultation with our legal team.