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How to invoke your right to silence

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

When you are arrested, the police will ask questions to obtain solid evidence against you. You can accidentally incriminate yourself when you answer their questions, hence the Fifth Amendment. With this, you can refuse to answer questions from the police during an arrest or interrogation.

But how do you invoke it? Here is what you should know:

Tell the police you refuse to answer questions

Remaining silent when the officer talks to does not clearly establish you are invoking your right to silence. You should inform them that you are exercising your right to refuse to answer questions.

What should you say?

You can use different statements to inform the police you are invoking your right to remain silent. Examples include:

  • I wish to exercise my right to remain silent
  • I only want to speak with my lawyer present
  • I want to speak with my attorney first

Regardless of the response you provide, ensure you are polite. Further, your statement should not be ambiguous. Thus, avoid using words like maybe or could. For example, “Maybe I should talk to my lawyer.” The police officer should know you are firmly invoking your right to remain silent and at the moment.

What if the police officer continues to ask questions?

When you invoke your right to silence, the officer must stop questioning you. If they continue doing so or use other tactics to make you speak, they may be violating your rights.

If you are arrested, you should consider invoking your right to silence immediately and get legal guidance to protect yourself.