What Does The Right to Remain Silent Actually Mean?

A suspect must affirmatively assert the right to silence to obtain full protection from the state. In addition to the right to counsel in a Nashville criminal defense case, the state generally recognizes two fundamental rights: the right to remain silent and the right to consult your attorney during questioning. Below is a description of what a right to silence is and the Fifth Amendment rights of states.

This interlocutory appeal aims to determine whether the defendant’s confession infringed upon the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Tennessee Constitution Article I, § 9. In a case in which the police failed to adequately respect the defendant’s Miranda rights, the police made a mistake regarding the admissibility of the defendant’s later confessions obtained after a second Miranda warning.

Citing the Right to Remain Silent and Police Protocol:

As long as the suspect, as explained, understands the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, any statement made during subsequent questioning could be admissible. If the suspect has not asserted their right to remain silent and has not sought legal representation, the statement can be used as evidence against them.

The police can continue or attempt to interview the suspect later if the suspect understands their rights and does not protest (or even remains silent for a while). Unless a suspect clearly states that they wish to invoke the right to silence, the Fifth Amendment will not prevent evidence from being used after a period of silence.

It must be established that the suspect has forgone their right to remain silent, even in the absence of proper invocation of this right, before the statements they make during interrogation can be used as evidence against them. However, the waiver need not be expressed. If a suspect provides voluntary statements after understanding their rights and having been briefed, they may waive their right to remain silent.

What Are Your Rights To Remain Silent in a Nashville Criminal Defense Case?

In the absence of clear signals such as silence and body language, your right to silence can perhaps best be invoked by saying, “I invoke my Miranda rights to remain silent.” Declaring your right to silence can be done in other ways. For example:

  • The right to silence is being exercised by you
  • Your desire to maintain silence
  • Only wishing to speak with a lawyer; or
  • You would like a private conversation with your lawyer

A reasonable police officer, considering the circumstances, would interpret the statement as a prosecutor’s request. That was enough for reliance, even if there were no specific words used. Invocation of your right to silence should be avoided by statements that suggest you might do so in the future. For example, the Supreme Court has ruled that to say “perhaps I should consult a lawyer” does not convey any ambiguity and is not considered an expression of invocation. Furthermore, such statements can be considered invocations, but they can also mean that you are planning to invoke your right in the future.

What Happens When You Exercise your Right To Silence?

All the police interrogation must stop the moment you exercise your right to remain silent. Your right to silence is not specific to the person interrogating you. This means that the police cannot bring in other personnel to question you. You cannot be sued if the police continue to question you after you invoke your Miranda rights. You can also be sued if you make any subsequent statements after asserting your right to remain silent in a Nashville criminal defense case.

How to Get a Lawyer:

This right can be invoked the same way you would invoke your right to silence: “I invoke my right to silence as well as my right to an attorney, and I will not answer questions without an attorney’s help”. After confirming this, you may contact your attorney. Invoking these rights can be intimidating for many individuals because they feel like they are being accused. When you claim these rights, be sure to say it clearly to an officer, but you cannot resist speaking with a criminal lawyer once you have done so.

Speak with a Professional About Your Right to Remain Silent:

Invoking the right to remain silent is essential to the U.S. criminal justice system as it provides suspects with the opportunity to seek legal advice first, increasing the likelihood that statements are not made under duress or fear. Speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your Nashville criminal defense case.

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