One of the most important concepts of the criminal justice system is the set of rights attributed to an individual who has been detained by law enforcement officers. People who are in police custody (which does not necessarily require a formal arrest) must be informed of these rights, which is referred to as the “Miranda Warning.” The two primary Miranda rights are:
- The right to remain silent
- The right to have an attorney present
If you choose to invoke either of these Miranda rights, law enforcement officers may not ask you any additional questions until you have consulted with your attorney. While the right to remain silent should seem relatively straightforward, you may be surprised how many officers may react in an unlawful manner when someone decides to stay quiet.
When an officer asks a driver or individual a question, it can be frustrating if the person refuses to answer and chooses to remain silent. However, some officers can take out their frustration in unlawful ways. For example, one woman in New Jersey was recently arrested for remaining silent because officers accused her of “obstruction of justice.” Remaining silent is not a crime, however, and while she was ultimately released and never charged, she still had to spend a couple hours behind bars. Such an unlawful arrest for exercising your right to remain silent constitutes a violation of your basic civil rights.
Even more concerning may be an officer’s attempt to get you to answer questions after you have been arrested and after you have invoked your right to remain silent or to have a lawyer present. In general, anything you say to officers after you tell them you do not want to answer questions should not be used against you in a criminal case–and this includes confessions or partial confessions. An experienced lawyer will know how to use any rights violations in your favor in your case.
Call a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Schedule Consultation
If you have been accused of a crime and believe that your constitutional rights were violated, you should contact a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer immediately. In fact, you should contact an attorney even if you do not believe that your rights were violated, as the assistance of an attorney can improve the outcome in nearly every conceivable case. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with attorney Leon Matchin, call our office today at 732-662-7658.