Fort Myers/Naples Criminal Defense Attorney
Do you REALLY have the right to remain silent?
In a recent supreme court decision (Salinas v. Texas, 133 S. Ct. 2174) a defendant without being placed in custody or receiving Miranda warnings, voluntarily answered some of a police officer’s questions about a murder, but fell silent when asked whether ballistics testing would match his shotgun to shell casings found at the scene of the crime. At petitioner’s murder trial in Texas state court, and over his objection, the prosecution used his failure to answer the question as evidence of guilt. The Supreme Court held that the defendant did not effectively invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and therefore his right was not violated.
How to Effectively Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent:
To properly invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent you should say: I am invoking my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. It is NOT enough to stop speaking and remain quiet. Again, you should say: I am invoking my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, before you stop speaking to the officers. It’s important to note that this can be stated at any time during an altercation with law enforcement.
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*Disclaimer: This summary was prepared by the Law Office of Guichard St. Surin, P.A. and should be used as a reference only. Interested parties should contact an attorney before drawing legal conclusions.
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