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When to make use of the right to remain silent

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Most people understand that they have the right to remain silent if they are arrested and subjected to a police interrogation. However, many people fail to make use of those rights when they would offer the most protection. It is quite common for people to assume that they can talk their way out of criminal charges when they encounter law enforcement professionals.

Oftentimes, people get themselves into a lot of trouble before they learn the hard way that everything they say to the police could end up undermining their case later. When should someone interacting with the police make use of their right to remain silent?

When placed in state custody

As soon as a police officer notifies an individual that they are under arrest, every word they speak and action they take will be subject to significantly elevated scrutiny. Small mistakes and contradictions can have dire consequences for a criminal defendant.

Even if someone fully believes that they can establish their innocence by answering questions, police could continue questioning them for many hours straight until fatigue or confusion results in them making a mistake. Anyone who is subject to police questioning after an arrest has the right to remain silent for as long as they remain in state custody. This right is so important that officers will have to remind someone about it before questioning them.

Officers cannot compel someone to answer questions. Therefore, it is often in the best interests of those accused of criminal offenses and in state custody to make use of their right to remain silent. They will want to combine that effort with their right to an attorney’s advice and representation.

Reaching out to a lawyer shortly after entering state custody could help someone protect themselves and better navigate their interactions with law enforcement. Learning about and using one’s basic civil rights with the assistance of a legal professional can make a major difference for those potentially facing criminal charges.