Right To Remain Silent: How To Stop Police Questioning After An Arrest
Getting arrested is almost always an unexpected event. It’s never fun, and it can also be extremely stressful. There’s also a good chance that the arresting officers will be asking you a lot of questions. Even if you’re innocent of the crime you’ve been arrested for, it can be very difficult to answer questions and explain yourself.
Police officers often count on the fact that you might be scared and intimidated when they question you. They hope that they’ll catch you in a lie or that you’ll confess to a crime.
The good news is that you have several important rights that you can exercise if you’re taken into police custody that will force officers to stop asking questions immediately.
Your Right To Remain Silent
The right to remain silent is one of your Miranda Rights. In short, it means that you have the legal right not to answer questions once you’ve been arrested, and not to be asked questions once you’ve invoked your right.
While the police are required by law to read you your Miranda Rights upon arrest, you do not have to wait until that happens to invoke your right to remain silent. You do, however, need to clearly invoke your right to remain silent. Merely refusing to answer any questions does not legally constitute invoking your right.
It’s also important to know that your Miranda Rights only apply if you have officially been taken into police custody. If you are unsure whether or not you are under arrest or are simply being detained, it’s perfectly okay to ask an officer: “Am I under arrest?”
Invoking Your Right To Remain Silent
There is no “official” way to invoke your right to remain silent. However, because body language and silence are legally ambiguous, you must verbally invoke your right. Here are some examples of things you can say to invoke your rights:
- I am invoking my right to remain silent
- I wish to remain silent
- I would like to speak with an attorney
- I will not answer questions without an attorney present
Regardless of the exact words you use, as long as a reasonable police officer would understand your statement to be an invocation of your rights, it is considered sufficient.
Be careful not to use ambiguous language. Phrases like, “Should I call a lawyer?” or, “I don’t want to talk to you.” are not a clear invocation of your right to remain silent.
After You’ve Invoked Your Right To Remain Silent
As soon as you invoke your right to remain silent, all police questioning must stop. Your right is not specific to the person questioning you, so the police cannot simply switch interrogators and continue questioning.
If the police continue questioning after you’ve clearly invoked your right to remain silent, then this would be a violation of your Miranda rights and any subsequent statements you make may not be used against you in court.
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