Understanding How to Assert Your Miranda Rights
How do you invoke your Miranda rights? Hi, I’m Oklahoma City Attorney Aaron Easton, and today is part three in the four-part series on invoking your Miranda rights. In the first two parts of the series, we talked about where those rights are derived from, the U.S. Constitution, and when law enforcement must provide you with those rights if you’re in custody and they’re interrogating you.
Today, we’re gonna talk about if you find yourself in that situation, how do you invoke your rights? As previously covered, you have two essential rights, the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that in order for you to invoke your right to silence, you’ve gotta do more than just be silent. In fact, the words that the U.S. Supreme Court used are you must either make an explicit, unambiguous, or unequivocal request to remain silent. If you just remain silent, police can continue to ask you questions, and any statements you provide, if you give in at some point, could be used against you in a court of law. So again, explicit, unambiguous, or unequivocal right to remain silent, you have to let law enforcement know that.
If you do convey unequivocally to law enforcement that you wish to remain silent, they must honor that silence and stop questioning. If they don’t, there could be consequences, which is what we’ll cover in part four.
It is important to point out, if you choose to remain silent before you’re Mirandized, before you’re provided with your Miranda warnings, that silence could be used against you in a court of law. The fact that you weren’t answering questions in a situation that somebody normally would, could be brought up in trial, but again, after Miranda, if you invoke your right to silence, police must cease questioning.
To invoke your right to an attorney, it’s pretty similar, and the language the court used for gathering your right to an attorney is clear or unequivocal, essentially the same thing. You have to make it unambiguous, obvious, known, and in this case, for an attorney, one of the missteps is saying something along the lines of, maybe I should talk to an attorney before I answer that, or I think I might want an attorney. That’s walking a fine line. In fact, you probably would lose on getting those statements out. The court has said it’s gotta be clear and unequivocal.
So again, much like with the right to silence, if you invoke your right to an attorney properly, unequivocally, police must stop asking you questions, and that goes for all crimes. They can’t just switch over and start questioning you about another crime you’re a suspect in. They have to stop questioning you about all crimes.
Speak to an Attorney
If you’ve been in a situation where you think your Miranda rights may have been violated, your right to silence, your right to an attorney, you’re gonna wanna speak to an attorney yourself, privately and confidentially about the facts and circumstances of your own case. Could be very important for your case.
To speak to an attorney with my firm, you can reach us at postconviction.lawyer or by phone at (918) 932-2833.