Everyone has heard the famous Miranda Rights speech on television and knows that when you’ve been placed under arrest, you have the right to remain silent. What most people don’t know whether those rights apply before they have been placed under arrest. When it comes to your right to remain silent, things can get a little fuzzy until the police read you your Miranda Rights. Vista DUI attorney Peter M. Liss can help clear up some of the confusion so that, with any luck, your silence will never be held against you.
When you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, any Vista DUI lawyer will tell you that you should only answer questions about your identity and refuse to answer any other questions, particularly regarding whether you have been drinking, where you were or where you are going. You have the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent on your behalf…as long as you properly invoke that right.
Unfortunately, the US Supreme Court has determined that silence can be used as a sign of guilt when a person is not under arrest and has not been read his or her Miranda Rights. So how do you avoid letting your silence be used against you? You specifically need to state that you are invoking your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. While the Supreme Court has said you need to expressly invoke your Fifth Amendment rights to gain its protection, there are no magic words that need to be spoken. If you say nothing, however, your silence before being arrested and Mirandized will be used against you. If you are exercise your constitutional rights and state that you are doing so, your Vista DUI attorney will ensure that your silence cannot be used against you later on.
If you are arrested for drunk driving, continue to invoke your right against self-incrimination and insist on speaking with a Vista DUI lawyer as soon as possible. In addition to ensuring your rights are protected, these requests will also show that you are knowledgeable about your rights so the police will not attempt to violate your rights while you are under custody.
If you have any questions about your right to silence in a DUI arrest or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please call Vista DUI attorney Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050.
Creative Commons Image by Lexie Lannon