Few things in life are scarier than facing criminal prosecution. After all, depending on the seriousness of the crime prosecutors believe you committed, you might encounter steep fines or imprisonment. You also might have to deal with having a criminal record for the remainder of your life.
Luckily, as an American, you have some fundamental rights that protect you when you are going through the criminal justice process. A valuable one is your right to remain silent. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, officers have an affirmative duty to inform you of this right before questioning you in a custodial setting.
How do you invoke your right to remain silent?
Police officers typically receive comprehensive training on eliciting confessions and incriminating information from criminal suspects. As a result, you are at a disadvantage in the interrogation room. Fortunately, invoking your right to remain silent is not difficult. You simply must use clear and concise language to let officers know you do not want to cooperate.
What should you do after you invoke your right?
Invoking your right to remain silent means officers cannot continue to question you. It does not, however, prevent you from making voluntary statements to officers. Therefore, after invoking your right, it is imperative to stop talking. Remember, officers often record interrogation rooms, so you should not speak out loud even when officers are not physically present.
Regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent, you do not want to help officers make a case against you. Ultimately, by invoking your right to remain silent and then remaining silent, you can keep from needlessly incriminating yourself.