You have seen it countless times in the Movies and in primetime TV, a police officer apprehending a criminal while telling him his rights. “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.”
So, how and when do you really invoke your rights against self-incrimination?
This privilege is called the Miranda rights, which is a part of the Fifth Amendment where the officers tell the arrests that what they say can be used against them, they can consult a lawyer, a lawyer can be present during interrogation, a lawyer will represent them for free if they cant afford one, they can decide to answer question and they can decide to stop the questioning anytime they want.
Police should read Miranda Rights when interrogating someone in custody. The silence practiced by the suspect can’t be considered as evidence of guilt.
When Not in Custody
The Police are not necessarily required to “Mirandarize” a certain person if he or she is not in custody. This is why the officers will explain carefully to a suspect that he or she is not under arrest. This way, the police don’t have to remind that person about his or her Miranda rights. So, be careful and be vigilant.
Exercise the Fifth Amendment
When not in custody, the United States Supreme Court allows prosecutors to use the silence of a suspect who is out of custody as evidence of guilt. To avoid this allegation you have to make it clear that you are keeping quiet because you are invoking your right to be silent. In cases like this, you have to make it clear to the authority that you want to invoke the Fifth Amendment and stay silent.
To make sure that you are invoking your rights to remain silent properly, it is still best to consult or hire a lawyer.