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Does invoking your right to remain silent require magic words?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

If you love to watch a good police drama on television, you are probably familiar with the Miranda advisement. This advisement, which comes from a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case, ensures criminal suspects understand their rights to remain silent and to consult with an attorney.

For a variety of reasons, it is usually advisable to exercise these rights. After all, not only do officers and prosecutors have more legal experience than you do, but you also may say something incriminating without realizing it. Fortunately, you do not have to use any magic words to invoke your right to remain silent.

Can you simply remain silent?

If you do not want to talk to detectives, you simply can remain silent. This is a risky strategy, though, as officers may continue to try to question you until you break down. Remember, detectives are likely to have little problem with putting you in a small interrogation room for hours on end. By design, this tactic can be both intimidating and uncomfortable.

Should you tell officers you do not want to talk?

A better approach is probably to tell officers you do not want to talk to them. After you indicate you are exercising your right to remain silent, officers must end your interrogation. That is, they cannot continue to question you until you either change your mind or meet with a lawyer. If your lawyer advises you to stay quiet, officers may never be able to question you.

Why do you want legal counsel?

According to reporting from NBC News, there may be as many as 100,000 innocent individuals currently sitting in jail or prison. Some of these, of course, gave officers incriminating information during their interrogations.

Even if you believe you have nothing to hide, it is often not a good idea to talk to the police. Ultimately, if you are not comfortable telling the police you want to remain silent, you can let a lawyer break the news to them on your behalf.