Many Texans have heard that individuals have a right to remain silent when they are under arrest. Television shows and movies often make dramatic scenes out of arrests and show suspect being led away as law enforcement officials recite Miranda warnings to them. However, the right to remain silent may seemingly contradict a practice many are taught as kids: if you did not do something wrong, why not explain the facts to get yourself out of trouble?
The problems with explaining oneself to police officers during an arrest is the fact that one’s words can later be used against them. This post will look at 3 reasons why individuals may want to remain silent when they are arrested. This post does not provide any legal advice but provides readers with information that they can later discuss with their trusted criminal defense attorneys.
Reason #1: Your words can later be used as evidence against you
One of the most significant reasons that a suspect may want to stay quiet while under arrest is the fact that their words and statements can be used as evidence against them if they are prosecuted. For example, an admission of guilt may be offered in court as proof of an individual’s involvement in or commission of a crime. A statement after a Miranda warning may be hard to overcome once it has been offered to police
Reason #2: You may have more challenges creating a defense strategy with an admission or statement to the police
In addition to the right to remain silent, individuals have a right to counsel when they are under arrest. If a person makes a statement to police without first consulting or retaining an attorney, they may not be able to undo the damage of their admission. It is best to speak with an attorney before offering any statements to law enforcement officers, and when suspects invoke their right to counsel, law enforcement officers must stop interrogating them for information.
Reason #3: You should not be compelled to speak out of fear of law enforcement officers
The right to remain silent exists to allow suspects to seek legal advice before interacting with law enforcement officers. It also exists to protect suspects from being forced to self-incriminate or admit to conduct they did not commit out of fear from police or other law enforcement personnel. It is a protection built into the criminal justice system and invoking one’s right to silence does not impact their later chances of success at trial.
Remaining silent is a right. It is a protection for individuals suspected of committing crimes. It is a powerful tool in securing a fair and impartial trial, and to prevent suspects from being coerced by powerful law enforcement officers. With the help of a dedicated criminal defense attorney, a person can feel prepared to meet their legal challenges and ensure the protection of their constitutional rights.