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Understanding Your Right to Remain Silent in a Criminal Trial

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Understanding Your Right to Remain Silent in a Criminal Trial

Understanding Your Right to Remain Silent in a Criminal Trial

Most individuals are familiar with the right to remain silent after an arrest. This statement made by law enforcement informs an individual of their constitutional rights. Additionally, it reminds them that anything they say can and will be held against them in a court of law. However, many individuals don’t understand what the right to remain silent means in regard to a criminal trial. Attorney Scott A. Hamblin is here to help Missouri residents understand how remaining silent affects criminal trials and guide them through the criminal defense process.

What Is the Right to Remain Silent?

The right to remain silent is included in an individual’s Miranda Rights. The Miranda Rights were established after the Miranda vs. Arizona court case in 1966 when the Supreme Court ruled that the 5th Amendment should protect individuals from self-incrimination. The 5th Amendment simply states that an individual cannot be forced to provide self-incriminating information to government officials. Additionally, they ruled that an arrested individual has the right to an attorney and must be informed of their rights by law enforcement. 

When being questioned by law enforcement, individuals can plead the fifth, meaning that they choose to use their constitutional rights to abstain from making self-incriminating statements. For example, law enforcement officers have the right to question an individual about a crime that was committed, which could lead to an arrested individual revealing information that could be used in court. By pleading the fifth, an individual refuses to answer questions until legally represented in court. 

How Does This Apply to Criminal Trials?

When court proceedings begin, a defendant’s choice to remain silent cannot be used against them. For example, an attorney is not permitted to comment about the defendant’s refusal to answer questions from law enforcement after pleading the fifth. The jury also knows they can’t hold it against a defendant if they refuse to testify. It’s important to know that an individual doesn’t have to be guilty to invoke their fifth amendment right. In fact, innocent individuals can also invoke their right to protect themselves against misleading information. For example, an innocent individual could be asked specific questions to try and trick them into confessing wrongdoing. By remaining silent in court, they can protect their innocence and prevent saying something incorrect. 

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

Scott A. Hamblin can help individuals understand their rights in court. We will defend you vigorously to ensure that your silence does not interfere with court decisions. Our representation can ensure that you feel comfortable during legal proceedings and that any questions you have are answered. It’s always wise to speak to an experienced attorney before discussing your situation with law enforcement officials. 

Contact Our Office Today

If you have questions about the right to remain silent during criminal trials, contact our office today. We look forward to hearing from you soon. 

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