In our previous blog, we discussed the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and why it is important when being stopped, investigated, or arrested by law enforcement. Now that you understand why it’s wise to remain silent, not speak to police, and request an attorney, it’s also important to know how to invoke your right to remain silent.
Say it Out Loud: Verbally Invoking Your Right
Verbally invoking your right to remain silent makes it clear that you do not wish to speak to police. It can also help avoid possible complications or misconceptions later on in your case, should there be one. To invoke your right, you can simply:
- State that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent.
- Request to speak with a lawyer before discussing anything further.
- Decline interviews or questions posed by officers.
- Refrain from making comments or statements.
Recent case law has introduced the concept that simply remaining silent without invoking the right to be silent can be used against defendants in some cases. As such, the best way to protect yourself and prevent the government from using your silence against you is to explicitly invoke your Fifth Amendment right. This means you need state out loud: “I want to invoke / exercise my right to be silent,” or something similar to an officer.
What You Should Provide
While you have the right to remain silent, you should still be polite to law enforcement and provide them with basic identifying information. If you are stopped or are being questioned by a law enforcement officer, you should provide information such as your name and where you live. You do not have to answer other questions beyond this, and can politely put an end to questioning from authorities by invoking your right to remain silent. Do not lie or give false documents.
Discuss Your Case Personally With a Lawyer
All cases are unique, but by exercising your right to remain silent, you can protect yourself from providing the government with information they can use to implicate you in a crime. Regardless of what occurs during a stop or arrest, you also have the right to seek experienced legal representation.
At Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A., our legal team is available 24/7 to help clients after they’ve had encounters with law enforcement. Contact us today to discuss your case personally with an attorney during a free consultation.