Law enforcement has rules that define the way agencies investigate crimes. One parameter they must operate under is your right to stop answering questions and protect yourself from damaging statements.
The right to remain silent is part of the Miranda warning that police recite to you when they suspect you of a crime. Learn more about when this right begins and how to effectively deploy it when interacting with the police.
What does the Fifth Amendment cover?
The Fifth Amendment sets out your rights when it comes to criminal and civil proceedings. It is one of many amendments that set limitations on how police agencies, courts and governments conduct investigations and trials. The protection against self-incrimination is one way the amendment protects you from overzealous police activities.
When can you invoke this right?
Your right to remain silent begins at any point in an interaction with the police. Since officers are good at eliciting information, you may want to politely assert your right to remain silent early. You do not have to wait until the police read you the Miranda warning to invoke it. For many people, remaining silent from the beginning may prove better.
Does your silence indicate guilt?
The police may not assume that you are guilty because you do not wish to answer their questions, and courts do not take your silence as an admission of guilt.
Police procedural errors extend to information gleaned after you assert the right to stop speaking. Understanding more about remaining silent in the face of an investigation may keep you out of legal trouble.