Need you declare your Fifth Amendment right to use it?
Photo of Attorneys T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez walking outside.
Photo of T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez

Need you declare your Fifth Amendment right to use it?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2021 | Criminal Defense

If you are arrested on criminal charges in Virginia, you might not initially know how to react. It’s a scary and overwhelming situation. You must remember that you have rights, including the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. However, it’s fair to wonder if you have to declare it if you intend to use it.

What is the right to remain silent?

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives you the right to remain silent in the event that you are arrested. You can invoke that right in order to avoid potentially incriminating yourself. If you’re arrested, the police officer is required to inform you of your Miranda rights and allow you to have a criminal defense attorney to assist you.

In spite of these rights, police sometimes still proceed to interrogate a suspect. Often, this can lead to people becoming intimidated and speaking even after they have already said they wanted to remain silent. However, in order for statements to be made during interrogation, it must be clear that the suspect has explicitly waived their right to remain silent. If that is not the case, the police cannot use anything the individual says against them.

How do you clearly invoke the right to remain silent?

A person cannot simply use body language to indicate their desire to remain silent. The best thing to do is to state clearly that you are invoking your right to remain silent. Another option is to state that you do not wish to talk and want to speak with your attorney first.

There are no specific words or statements that a suspect has to make when telling law enforcement officers that they want to invoke their right to remain silent. As long as they are clear and verbally say that they don’t want to talk to the officers, it’s their legal right and their Miranda rights apply. However, it’s still a person’s right to remain silent even before their Miranda rights are read to them.

What happens when you invoke your right to remain silent?

When you invoke your right to remain silent, the police are supposed to immediately cease questioning you. If they continue, it’s a violation of your Miranda rights, meaning that whatever they obtain cannot be used in court.