In the United States, most people know the Miranda warning. Cornell Law School describes the Miranda Warning as a protection to the defendant. Law enforcement cannot interrogate a person in custody if they do not inform the person of his or her Fifth Amendment right. This is the right to remain silent and to avoid self-incrimination. The police must inform him or her that the police and court officials can use everything that he or she says against him or her. In addition, he or she must hear that he or she can have a lawyer present.
The right to remain silent is a serious protection for defendants.
What are the risks?
Interrogators often use tricks to compel a person to confess to a crime. For instance, an investigator may offer legal excuses to get a defendant to confess to a crime. Some investigators will question a defendant for long periods in order to wear him or her down.
What can invoking the right to remain silent accomplish?
If a person invokes his or her right to remain silent, then the interrogation stops. It cannot continue forward from that point onward. This means that the police cannot perform unnecessarily long interrogations. If a person asks for a lawyer, then the cops can continue the interrogation with a lawyer present.
During a criminal investigation, the stakes may be high. Without experience, a person may face longer sentences and higher fines than they otherwise would have. Invoking the right to remain silent is one way to ensure that a defendant does not say the wrong thing. Find out more about criminal defense by visiting our web page.