Do Not Neglect to Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent


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Do Not Neglect to Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

We all want to share our stories – it is part of what connects us as humans. If you are facing criminal charges, this is probably even more true. Getting the whole matter off your chest and speaking your piece can feel very liberating. After being charged with a crime, however, is no time to become gabby. You have the right to remain silent, and it is nearly always in your best interest to do so.

The Right Not to Self-Incriminate

The law allows everyone the right not to bear witness against themselves. This absolute right is known as the privilege against self-incrimination. It is protected in all of the following ways:

  • By the United States Constitution

  • By the Texas Constitution

  • By Texas statutes

While no one can compel you to give up this right, you can do so voluntarily. Once you have waived the right – usually by merely speaking – anything you do say can almost certainly be used against you.

Miranda Warnings

If you have ever watched a police drama, you know that anyone in custody must receive a Miranda warning. This fact, however, is only valid if questions are asked of you. Further, the police can ask you questions without reciting the Miranda warning if you are not in custody.

Salinas vs. Texas

In the Supreme Court case of Salinas vs. Texas, the right not to incriminate ourselves was put to the test in an interesting and enlightening way. All of the following apply to this 2013 ruling:

  • Mr. Salinas was convicted of murder, and the conviction was not overturned.

  • Salinas was first invited by Houston police to visit the police station, which he voluntarily accepted. He willingly engaged in conversation with the police.

  • Salinas did not confess to the murder, but he did not respond when he was asked a question that he did not want to answer.

  • The prosecutor in the case took his mere silence as an admission of guilt.

  • Salinas' defense attorney asserted his Fifth Amendment right not to bear witness against himself. Still, the Supreme Court failed to accept the argument.

While we unequivocally have the right to remain silent and to not incriminate ourselves, the Court finds that we need to explicitly state our intention to exercise our right to remain silent. The right is not – the Court finds – an abstract right intended to implement itself when it is convenient for the defendant. In other words, it is in your best interest to unequivocally assert your right to remain silent.

Seek the Legal Counsel of an Experienced Killeen Criminal Attorney Today

If you face criminal charges, criminal attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is well prepared to skillfully fight for your constitutional rights in support of a beneficial case resolution. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 today.

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