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January 18, 2017

Understanding the Right to Remain Silent in South Carolina Criminal Cases

Criminal Defense Claim Attorney Greenville South Carolina

Anyone who is arrested should have their Miranda Rights read to them, which include the right to remain silent. While it is called ‘the right to remain silent,’ it really means that you have a right to avoid incriminating yourself by speaking about the given crime. This is an extremely important thing to be aware of and to fully understand when you are arrested for any crime.

This right to remain silent is just as important if you are innocent as it is if you are guilty. Many people mistakenly believe that if they are innocent of the crime, then they have nothing at all to worry about and can speak freely. Others think that if they invoke the right to remain silent, then this could be taken as an indication of guilt. This could not be further from the truth.

In reality, invoking the right to remain silent will protect you whether you are innocent or guilty of the crime. If you are innocent, it prevents you from having to say anything that might indicate that you are guilty or to have to answer questions that are designed to get you to unwittingly admit to some kind of guilt. If you are guilty of the crime, then you face the same risks, though you are even more likely to say something that will ultimately harm your case or keep you from the best possible outcome, later.

Always Ask for an Attorney Before After Being Arrested on Criminal Charges

Another part of your Miranda rights will be that you have a right to an attorney, and that if you cannot afford one, one will be appointed for you. The attorney that they are referring to is a criminal defense attorney, like those at Lauren Taylor Law. It is at this point that you should invoke your right to remain silent and ask for an attorney. You can choose to have an attorney appointed to your case, or you can contact a South Carolina criminal defense attorney of your own choosing.

It is always in your best interests to hire a criminal defense attorney of your own choosing if you can afford to do so. This is because you have the opportunity to choose the attorney based on their experience, the rapport that they build with you, and other factors of importance to you and your case. On the other hand, if an attorney is appointed to you, then they may be just as effective or they may not be. You don’t get the chance to compare and choose for yourself.

We encourage you to consider your options and contact the criminal defense attorneys at Lauren Taylor Law to get experienced representation in your criminal case.

How Do You Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent Following an Arrest?

Another common misconception about the right to remain silent after an arrest is that you can invoke this right by simply not speaking. However, you actually have say that you wish to remain silent until you have spoken to a South Carolina criminal defense attorney. The reason that this matters is because once you invoke the right to remain silent, the police are not allowed to further interrogate you. They have to let you speak to an attorney and cannot coerce you into saying something incriminating. However, if you simply refuse to speak, but then say something later, they can still use that against you.

On that note, this is also an important consideration with the myth that remaining silent could somehow imply guilt. If you invoke your right to remain silent, in reality, then this cannot be used against you and your silence cannot be commented on in court. However, if you don’t invoke your right to remain silent, then the prosecutor could comment on the fact that you refused to speak.

For these reasons, to invoke your right to remain silent, you should respectfully and calmly say that you wish to invoke your right to remain silent, that you do not consent to any searches of your property, and that you do not wish to waive your Miranda rights. Then, ask to be allowed to contact your attorney or for an attorney to be appointed for you.

Contact the South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorneys at Lauren Taylor Law

At this point, call the determined South Carolina criminal defense attorneys at Lauren Taylor Law to ensure that you have the necessary legal representation and protection through every step of the process.