Invoking Your Right to Remain Silent in a Federal Criminal Case

The right to remain silent is enshrined in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. Yet it is a right that you must invoke properly if you wish to use it to the best effect.

These principles work equally well whether you’re dealing with New York state law enforcement or whether you’re dealing with federal agents who have shown up at your home or business. 

You Have the Right Regardless of Miranda Warnings

Police only need to read your Miranda rights when you are under arrest. They can even, at times, handcuff you and place you into a squad car to cool off without invoking the requirement to read those rights.

The Supreme Court has recently weakened Miranda warnings, as well. 

It’s best to simply invoke your rights any time you are dealing with police, FBI agents, or other law enforcement officials. Invoking your rights doesn’t make an arrest any more or less likely. If law enforcement has decided to arrest you, it’s going to happen, so you might as well protect yourself as best you can. 

Failure to Invoke the Right Can Be Used Against You

In the 2013 supreme court case Salinas v. Texas, the Supreme Court ruled that silence in the face of police questioning could be held against a suspect if they are not under arrest. In order to undercut the prosecution’s ability to use your silence against you, you must verbally invoke it.

You can say, “I am invoking my 5th Amendment right to remain silent and will not answer questions without my attorney present.” 

You Need a Lawyer 

If federal law enforcement is at your doorstep or trying to question you, you need an attorney, even if you aren’t under arrest yet. There’s a good chance they are gathering evidence against you. 

There is rarely any good reason to talk to them. Even if you think you are not a suspect. 

If you think you want to help an investigation, you should at least have your own attorney by your side before you get involved in any way. A “witness” can turn into a “suspect” much faster than you might imagine. 

Contact an experienced federal defense attorney as soon as possible so that you can gain help navigating this extremely dangerous situation. 

Contact Koch Law to schedule a case review today. 

See also: 

What Are the Grounds for Suppressing Evidence in a New York or Federal Criminal Case? 

Can You Hire a Federal Criminal Attorney Before Charges Are Filed? 

What to Do If Your Home or Office Gets Raided by Federal Agents

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