Most people across California likely know about their right to remain silent. Whether from criminal justice TV shows or a previous encounter with the police, this line from the Miranda rights is one of the most commonly known.

However, understanding this right and invoking it when necessary may be more difficult than assumed. Whether during an arrest, an intense interrogation or a seemingly innocent questioning by law enforcement, invoking this right, remaining silent and refusing to speak until an attorney is present can be much more difficult in the heat of the moment. Why is invoking this right so important?

Waiving Miranda rights can aggravate the situation

Waiving Miranda rights and choosing to speak with the police may seem harmless and even something that could help diffuse or clarify the situation. However, many are unaware that choosing to speak without receiving professional legal guidance can lead to self-incrimination, which can only further complicate the case later on.

This may seem counterintuitive. Yet, it is important to remember that anything said during an arrest or questioning could be used against you later in court. Police interrogators know how to get the statements they want and often use strategic tactics to keep people talking.

Invoking the right to remain silent

It is not simply enough to remain silent when questioned by an officer or interrogator. Rather, individuals must state that they are invoking the right to remain silent to make it as clear as possible to the police. After this occurs, all questioning must stop. If the questioning goes on after invoking this right, such actions could be used against the prosecution in court as statements taken after this time may not be used as evidence.

While the right to remain silent may sound straightforward, choosing to invoke this right when the time comes can be harder than it may seem. If you were recently arrested or are under investigation, consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your situation.