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Understanding Your Fifth Amendment Right to “Remain Silent”

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyerWhen a suspect is arrested, they are informed of their “right to remain silent.” What does this right really mean, though? When does it apply, and are there any exceptions? Sadly, most American citizens do not know, or they have misconceptions that lead to accidental incrimination. The following information can help you better understand your Fifth Amendment right, and know when you should exercise it to its fullest extent.

Why We Have the Fifth Amendment

Like all rights granted by the Constitution, the Fifth Amendment right is meant to protect citizens in the face of a corrupt government. This does not mean that our government is, in fact, corrupt. It simply means that, should you face a corrupt officer, judge, or other legal entity, your rights can help protect you from wrongful imprisonment and/or wrongful due process.

Specifically, the Fifth Amendment is meant to protect you from having to testify against yourself. It postures that you are innocent until proven guilty and that you cannot be forced into telling law enforcement otherwise. This does not mean that they will not try. They will lie, negotiate, trick, and manipulate in any way that they can to get you to cave. Do not give in! Instead, exercise your right to remain silent and pair it with your right to legal counsel the moment you are taken into custody.

Limitations on Your Fifth Amendment Rights

For the most part, your right to remain silent can be used in any situation where you might incriminate yourself. However, like most laws, there are some important limits. If, for example, public safety is placed at an immediate risk because of a bomb you have allegedly planted and you tell them where it is before your Miranda rights are explained, your statement may still be considered admissible in court. Also, parents who have limited custody rights to a child and have knowledge of the child’s whereabouts are not usually protected. They generally cannot refuse to disclose the child’s whereabouts either.

Even if you believe that these limitations apply to your situation, demand an attorney as soon as you are questioned or taken into custody. This can ensure that all of your rights are fully protected and that you exercise each and every right to its fullest extent under the law.

At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP we have more than 40 years of experience in representing those facing criminal charges. Skilled and dedicated, we handle even some of the most complex cases, including those involving federal criminal charges. To ask how we can help with your case, contact our Milwaukee, Wisconsin criminal defense attorneys and schedule a consultation. Call us at 414-271-1440 today.



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