Use Your Right to Remain Silent
- January 21, 2012
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The right to remain silent when being questioned by the police is well founded in both the Supreme Court and the New Jersey Courts. The reason for Miranda warnings advising of the right to remain silent is to insure individuals are aware of this right before questioning by police.
Individuals questioned in regard to crimes for which they are suspects, including serious traffic violations, throughout New Jersey should invoke their right to remain silent.
Unfortunately, even after being told they have the right to remain silent, many people answer questions asked by police officers because they believe they have to based upon the custodial situation. Another issue is that the invocation of the right is sometimes dishonored by police or prosecutors when an accused seeking to invoke the right to remain silent does not use the “right” words. There are no magic words required to invoke the right to remain silent but it must be clear that an accused it invoking the right to remain silent.
Recently, in State v. Dias-Bridges, A.3d, 2012 WL 87194, N.J., the accused requested that questioning cease until he spoke with his mother but also stated he would continue to answer questions after he spoke with his mother. He failed to state that he did not wish to answer further, that he would not say anything else or that he wished to speak to his attorney and then silent after any of the prior statements.
If you are being questioned in regard to a crime in which you are a suspect you should tell the officer(s) questioning you that you wish to speak to your attorney. You may provide the police with your name, or in the case of a motor vehicle offense, your driver’s license, insurance and registration. Repeat that you wish to speak to your attorney to each and every officer who attempts to speak with you thereafter. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. This means that what appears to be a friendly conversation with an officer offering you the chance to “help yourself” will later be used against you by the police and prosecution. Call your attorney at the first opportunity.
For more information on criminal charges in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com.