“Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” If you have ever watched a crime show on television, you have heard these words. TV glamorizes the criminal investigation process and makes viewers believe that innocent bystanders can safely say anything to the police. That could not be further from the truth. Many innocent people find themselves in serious legal trouble because they said something to incriminate themselves.
Investigators will ask tricky questions to twist answers and implicate people in a crime. Understanding your right to remain silent can protect you from legal problems.
When do the police read you your Miranda rights?
Miranda warnings exist to remind detained suspects of their Fifth Amendment rights. Officers are only required to give Miranda warnings to suspects after an arrest. If you witness a crime, investigators may interrogate you and do not need to remind you of your rights. Since the Fifth Amendment protects everyone, you are never required to answer questions from the police.
After hearing your Miranda warning, do you need to respond?
For information to be admissible in court, you must respond that you understand your rights. Refusing to answer may seem like a good plan, but it could make a jury view you as uncooperative. A simple “yes” response is sufficient and will not require you to answer more questions.
Regardless of the situation, always state that you will not answer questions without the presence of your attorney. Being firm about this stance upfront will clarify your position and keep you out of hot water.