You have the right to remain silent. It sounds so simple. It sounds so familiar. It is the first line of the Miranda rights which are read to people when they are arrested. It is also the primary way to help your case if you are arrested.
Here are some thoughts to consider on the power of silence in your criminal defense case.
The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to remain silence. Even if you are caught in what looked like the act of doing something illegal, it is the prosecutor’s business to prove that you did it. They also have to use evidence that they have the right to use. No matter what the police officer says to you, you have a right to not say something that will make your situation worse.
The police must tell you that you have the right to stay silent. You know that you have the right to silence; they know you have the right to silence, but the police officer is legally required to tell you that you have this right.
If they don’t tell you that you have this right and warn you that “what you say can and will be used against you” they might be undermining their ability to use that information in court. Unless you speak up, waiving the right to silence, and give them the right to use it.
Posting about your case on social media is the same as waiving the right to silence to the police. What is published on social media sites is public information and could be used in a court case.
Talking about your case to your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site is like going out onto your front yard when the police officer is standing right there, and yelling that you did it. They can find the statement and will use it. Don’t do it.
Let your lawyer speak for you. The police officer must also tell you that you have the right to an attorney, and you do. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows the criminal justice system and can advocate for you. They know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.
If you or someone you love has been arrested, whether it was simply a misunderstanding, or if it’s a serious situation, it is a good idea to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer. They can help you understand your legal rights and options. They can speak for you.