Being approached by the police can be extremely intimidating. While you do have certain rights when approached, arrested, or charged with a crime, remembering these rights can be difficult when you are overwhelmed with emotions like fear. You may also be unsure of what your rights are if the police don’t tell you your rights—something that they are legally required to do when making an arrest.
One important right that you have is the right to remain silent. Here’s what you need to know about this Constitutional right and what happens if your rights are breached. Call The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski directly if you have questions.
What Is the Right to Remain Silent?
The right to remain silent is a right that is based in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Specifically, the Fifth Amendment reads that no person shall “be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…”
Based on this language, a person may “plead the Fifth” and not answer incriminating questions about themselves. A historic court case involving the Fifth Amendment and the right to silence, Miranda v. Arizona, led to the adoption of “Miranda Rights.” Today, police are required to read a suspect their Miranda Rights, one of which is the right to remain silent.
When Do Police Have to Inform Me of My Rights?
You have the right to remain silent and to not share any incriminating information about yourself; you also have the right to be told of these rights at the time that you are arrested. Under the ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, the police must make a person aware of their rights anytime that a suspect is taken into custody. Typically, this happens at the time of an arrest.
What Happens if My Constitutional Rights Are Violated?
If you say something incriminating about yourself before your rights have been read to you, the police can still use this information if the information was derived from conversations you had with the police before you were officially in police custody. For example, if the police have not arrested you but approach you and ask if you will answer some questions and you do, your rights have not been violated and anything you say could be used against you. It is only at the point that you are in police custody (arrested) that the police have to read you your rights.
If the police arrest you and do not inform you of your rights, then any statements that you make afterward that are incriminating will likely be suppressed by the court; the statements will not be admitted as evidence.
Call Our Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been arrested, the protection of your Constitutional rights is critical. Our Massachusetts criminal defense attorney will work hard to make sure your rights are protected. Reach us today at (978) 397-0011 to schedule a consultation and learn how Attorney Paul R. Moraski can help.