Your Silence Is Deafening Invoking Your 5th Amendment Right
Once upon a time, if you wanted to invoke your right to remain silent, you didn’t have to be a lawyer to understand the 5th Amendment if you have watched any type of police TV shows, or movies.
You just had to say nothing. Simple,right?
Nowadays you could hear a prosecutor shouting about your pre-arrest, pre-Miranda warnings silence.
In Salinas v. Texas, the prosecutor used Mr. Salinas’ silence against him.
Specifically, before he was arrested, the police asked him whether a certain shotgun would match the shells recovered at the scene of a murder.
Mr. Salinas said nothing, looked at the floor, and shuffled his feet. At trial, the prosecutor argued “an innocent person is going to say, ‘what are you talking about? I didn’t do that. I wasn’t there.’ [Salinas] didn’t respond that way.”
So how can you prevent your silence from shouting about your guilt?
Here’s how. Whether you’ve been arrested or not and the police want to question you, say this:
“I invoke my right to remain silent. I invoke my right to an attorney.”
Write those words down on a small slip of paper. Stick that slip of paper in your wallet. Better yet, make that the wallpaper on your cell phone.
When the police ask you a question, get the slip of paper out of your wallet (or get out your cell phone with the special legal wallpaper), and read it out loud.
After that, say nothing!
Welcome to the land of the free in the Chief Justice Roberts era, where everybody has to be a lawyer.
If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, give me a call to discuss your options. I offer free consultations to review your arrest, pending charges and possible defenses.