Criminal Law

What Is The Right To Silence For Criminal Suspect

What Is The Right To Silence For Criminal Suspect

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If you are a fan of American murder mystery TV shows, you must be familiar with the fifth amendment right, which is the right to remain silent.

The name implies what the right constitutes itself.

Any criminal defense attorney in san francisco can guide you on the bits and pieces of this right and when and where you should invoke it.

Today, we are going to discuss all this right, so without further ado, let’s begin:

What Is The Right To Remain Silent?

The fifth amendment states that no person can be compelled by the officials to be a witness against himself. It is not legal, which is why the right to remain silent is usually invoked when the police suspect someone of a criminal.

It is also known as the Miranda Rights that the police must recite during the arrest.

The name came from Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) doctrine. In this case, the defendant confessed to a crime after several hours of police interrogation, and at no time did the officers advise him against his rights of self-incrimination or to consult a lawyer.

During the court proceedings, the judge prioritized his written confessions over his objection, and the person was convicted.

From that day, the Supreme Court ruled that the police’s coercive nature of dragging the confession out of that person was immoral. They should have advised him of his rights regarding the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.

So, if a person affirmatively invokes his right to silence, the police cannot interrogate him any further. Moreover, the police cannot hold silence as a medium of incriminating evidence.   

Does It Lead To Immunity In Trial?

No, the right to silence cannot grant the person immunity during the trial. However, if the person settles an immunity from the prosecutors before the court proceedings begin, the police can hold the silence as a self-incriminating evidence.

The immunity provisions of federal law offer the same protection as the immunity from prosecution.

For that to happen, the police must recite the right to the suspect during his arrest. The primary application of this right begins when the prosecutor cannot ask the defendant to take the stand or to testify.

The defendant gets to have sole discretion over whether to testify at the trial and if the defendant decides not to take the stand, the prosecutor cannot object to it.

Silence During Police Interrogations

Whether the person invoking the right to silence is obligated to speak in front of the police or not has no right answer. Technically, he is not, but sometimes the police can consider it self-incriminating evidence.

It means that invoking the fifth or sixth amendment may not always act in your favor.

A criminal defense attorney san francisco will always advise you to invoke this right during your arrest or at least until the time when your lawyer doesn’t come to your rescue.

Since the well-known Miranda warning, the police are not legally eligible to conduct the interrogation after the right to silence is announced.

But, the police must advise the person to do so during his arrest or during the time of interrogation. The suspect must be given a choice to invoke the right or to cooperate with the police. Only after that can the suspect invoke his right and that will be legally considered.

What Happens If The Right To Invoke Silence Is Ignored?

If the person under arrest doesn’t invoke his fifth amendment rights, and the police can get some coerced confession out of him during the interrogation, it plays in favor of the police.

This is why a criminal defense attorney san francisco, always advises you to invoke the right to silence because the police can find incriminating evidence against you even if you cooperate with them willingly.

In such situations, the law will rule in favor of the police because the suspects’ rights were not violated in the first place.

If the police don’t attempt to arrest the person and the person willingly says something to the police in a feat of rage, nervousness, or fear, it can be used as evidence against him. As the police are not obligated to inform the person about Miranda Rights until the arrest happens, whatever the person says before that is not a violation of his rights.

Final Verdict

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It means you have found some interesting aspects to cast the right to silence for a criminal suspect right here.

If you want to know more about it, get in touch with us in the comment section below. We can get back to you with an answer in no time.

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