The value of silence during a criminal arrest

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2021 | Uncategorized |

An arrest can be a traumatic and difficult event for any Pensacola resident to experience. From their interactions with law enforcement officers to their arrival at the police station, an individual under arrest may feel confused, intimidated, and scared. In these times of high stress and mental disorientation, they can find themselves facing tough questions from police officers, detectives, and others.

Though watching television, most individuals know that there are certain rights that police must recite when arresting a person for allegedly committing a crime. These rights are known as individuals’ Miranda rights, based on the decision in the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona. They include, but are not limited to, the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent.

When facing criminal charges, it can be human nature for a suspect to want to explain themselves as quickly as possible. However, this tactic can be damaging based on other warnings included in standard Miranda rights’ recitations. This post will further explore individuals’ right to remain silent and why silence can be a practical strategy for an individual under arrest. No part of this post should be read as legal advice.

Silence is golden: Why silence can help after an arrest

After an arrest, law enforcement officials may want to question or interrogate their suspects to find out as much information about the alleged crime as they can. They may look for ambiguity or inconsistencies in their suspects’ stories, and they may examine details relayed by arrested individuals and compare them to otherwise known facts. When a person opens their mouth to answer investigative questions, they begin to provide law enforcement officers with potential evidence of their possible guilt.

The right to remain silent is read in most Miranda rights immediately before a warning that explains to individuals that their statements can be used against them in court. This means that when a person chooses to answer questions about alleged crimes, their words can be later used as evidence against them as the go to trial on criminal charges. Staying silent can prevent this from happening and potentially putting one in a difficult position to defend themselves from serious criminal charges.

How does a person express their right to remain silent?

There is no single way that a person must claim that they are invoking their Miranda right to remain silent. They can state that they want to remain silent or that they will remain silent. They can specifically state that they are expressing their Miranda right to stay silent, or they may state that they will only talk to their attorney.

When a person expresses their right to remain silent, law enforcement officials must stop questioning them. They cannot legally pursue further lines of communication with the individual under arrest. However, if a person simply remains silent, police may continue to try to get them to talk until such time as the individual expresses that they will not talk.

Keeping one’s words and explanations to themselves can be a useful strategy when facing criminal charges. However, in some situations individuals may disclose information to police due to the wrongful and sometimes illegal practices of law enforcement officers. All individuals have the right to an attorney when under arrest. Those with concerns about the legality of their interrogations and Miranda rights can speak with trusted Florida criminal defense lawyers.