Most individuals know that the Fifth Amendment of United States Constitution allows individuals to remain silent rather than incriminating themselves with police. This is further recognized by the Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona which created what has become known as Miranda Rights. However in a recent Supreme Court decision, Salinas v. Texas, the Supreme Court held that the right to remain silent was an affirmative right that needs to be asserted before it applies. What that means is that individual has to actually exercise his right for her right to remain silent vocally in order for that to be a right when not in custody. In the Salinas case Mr. Salinas voluntarily went to the police department to be questioned regarding two murders. He answered most of the police officers questions, however when officers questioned whether shotgun shells found on scene would match his gun he remained silent and refused to answer the question. During trial, prosecutors commented on that silence as evidence of his guilt during his trial. The Supreme Court reasoned that Salinas could have easily left the police station at any point without answering any questions from the officers. He was never placed under arrest and thus not subject to the protection of the Fifth Amendment.
So how is it that this case could apply to you? First my advice is to never go to the police department voluntarily to answer questions. Generally speaking, more harm than good results in those kinds of encounters. If, however, you do find yourself in that type of situation, ask for an attorney and immediately invoke your right to silence verbally. Make sure that your desire to speak with an attorney is well known by the officers. Lastly, find an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help you in your situation and get you the best possible result. If you are facing criminal allegations, contact my law office at 480-398-1498 or visit me on the web at www.arizonaattorneykg.com and set up a free consultation.Back to Blogs