It is not as straightforward as you would think, at least not anymore.
This past summer, on June 17, the Supreme Court made a 5-4 ruling that
affects your Fifth Amendment rights. The decision was based out of a murder
case. The police had been questioning a suspect, but the man was not in
police custody. This meant that he had not been read
Miranda warnings yet, nor did he have a right to hear them. He was answering an
officer's questions, when the officer asked him whether or not the
shell casings found at the scene belonged to his gun. At this point, the
suspect clammed up. When the officer asked different questions, the suspect
began to answer again. Prosecutors used this silence as evidence against
the man who was questioned. The Supreme Court has affirmed that action,
deciding that if a person wants to use their right to remain silent outside
of police custody, then they have to say so.
You are outside of police custody when it is clear that you are not at
liberty to go. This literally means that if you do not want to answer
a police officer's questions outside of custody, you have to say something
like, "I want to invoke my constitutional right to remain silent."
If you do not take this action, an officer and then a prosecutor can use
your silence against you.
If you have any other questions about your rights, or if you need to defend
against criminal charges, turn to the
Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson PLC. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Davidson has a thorough understanding of
the criminal justice system. He is equipped with the knowledge and experience
that may be able to protect your rights and your freedom.
Contact our firm today!