When facing arrest, it can be a scary and confusing time. When arresting someone, law enforcement officers must read the suspect the Miranda Warning, which includes the right to have an attorney and the right to remain silent.
Many people do not fully understand what the right to remain silent means. It is important to understand so one does not self-incriminate.
Right to remain silent before arrest
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, a person’s right to remain silent begins as soon as the police stop and begin questioning, even before an arrest occurs. Most people do not know that they do not have to answer the majority of questions an officer may ask. In some states, a person does need to provide a name when asked, but a person does not need to answer questions relating to
• Where one is traveling to or from
• Where one lives
• What one is doing
• Where one was born
If choosing not to answer these questions, state the wish to remain silent. This is especially important once someone is under arrest.
How to invoke the right to remain silent
FindLaw discusses that although everyone has a legal right to remain silent, one actually has to invoke this right in order to stop questioning by the authorities. This means verbally stating something like “I am invoking my right to remain silent” or “I want to remain silent.” Be strong and clear so there is no ambiguity as to what one wants. After doing so, no one else may question or interrogate the suspect.