How to Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent & Get an Attorney
We have all seen the reading of a suspect’s Miranda rights on TV and maybe even in real life. The police remind us that we have certain rights, including:
- The right to remain silent,
- The right to consult with an attorney,
- The right for a lawyer to be present during questioning, and
- The right to have a lawyer represent you for free if you can’t afford one.
Thanks to the many crime dramas on TV, we have heard these rights over and over. Plus, we should be reminded of them if we are ever in custody. Unfortunately, knowing that a right exists doesn’t always make it easy to invoke. In fact, knowing when and how to invoke your right to silence or your right to an attorney can be a real challenge.
Most of us feel nervous or intimidated when being questioned by police, making us timid about asking for a lawyer or asserting our right to refuse to answer questions. That’s why it helps to know the details about exactly how to do this.
We discuss the best way to assert your rights below. But when in doubt, reach out to an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney for help. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we’re available 24/7 and ready to protect your rights. Call (412) 281-2146 for a free and confidential consultation.
When & How to Invoke Your Right to Silence
The right to silence lets us ensure that we do not incriminate ourselves. After all, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court.”
Because of this, it is important to invoke your right to silence early. Whether or not you are guilty, any potentially damning evidence or even inconsistencies in your story could be used as evidence of your guilt.
When to Keep Quiet
You can invoke this right at any time – and whether or not you are formally in custody or charged. In fact, the minute that police start questioning you is the ideal time to invoke your right.
Even if you simply want to clear your name, what you say could be used to build a case against you. It’s better to wait until you have professional legal help to convey the information that you believe will clear you.
In order to invoke your right to remain silent, you simply have to say, “I am invoking my right to remain silent and won’t be answering any more questions without a lawyer.” At this point, the officers should leave you alone.
Even if they don’t, imply sit quietly and wait to speak to the attorney who will be representing you. While law enforcement may try to provoke you into saying something you will regret, resist the temptation. You will only be doing what they want and hurting yourself.
When & How to Invoke Your Right to an Attorney
At any point that you are being questioned as a suspect, you should assert your right to a defense attorney. A lawyer will have years of experience dealing with the police, so he or she can quickly find out what the police want with you and advise you on which questions to answer and how.
This means that you should ask for an attorney at the first possible opportunity. If you have been read your rights, you are a serious suspect. Law enforcement has likely been building a case against you, and you need a lawyer to ensure that your rights are respected.
By invoking this right, you can start to defend yourself and ensure that the police are not given any more evidence to build its case. Even if you have not been read your rights, but are being questioned, you have the right to counsel. The minute you start to feel nervous about speaking with the police, invoke your rights to silence and get an attorney.
After that, wait for their advice.
How to Request a Lawyer
In order to invoke this right, you can say the same thing that you would say to invoke your right to silence: “I am invoking my right to remain silent and my right to an attorney, and I won’t be answering any more questions without a lawyer.” Once you have made this clear, you should be given an opportunity to contact your lawyer.
Make sure that you say this clearly to an officer, but once it has been stated, you cannot be prevented from talking to a criminal lawyer.
It can feel intimidating to invoke these rights for many people because they feel like they are making themselves look guilty. In reality, the opposite is true. When you clearly invoke these rights, it cannot be used against you in court and it protects you.
Contact a Pittsburgh Defense Lawyer 24/7
At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we have decades of experience fighting for the rights of our clients. Call us any time at (412) 281-2146 to see how we can help in a free consultation with a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney.