When under criminal investigation in Alaska or elsewhere, you do have rights. Many would say the most powerful of those is your right to remain silent. Invoking this right is not a sign of guilt. It is a way for you to protect yourself.
The right to remain silent is just one of the rights guaranteed to you by the 5th Amendment. Along with it comes the right to legal representation. Together, they offer you complete protection, as long as you utilize them properly.
How to invoke your right to remain silent
During an arrest, police officers should read you your Miranda rights and ask if you understand them. After the reading of the Miranda warning, there are several ways you can invoke your right to remain silent. They include:
- Refusing to speak
- Saying you invoke your right to remain silent
- Asking to talk to an attorney
As soon as you invoke your right to remain silent, questioning by police should stop. If it doesn’t, this is a violation of your rights, and any statements made by you would likely be inadmissible in court. However, anything you say voluntarily, even after invoking your right, one may use against you. So, it is up to you to invoke your right and remain steadfast in your refusal to speak.
Why invoke your 5th Amendment rights?
It all comes down to protection. You may think talking to investigators is the best thing you can do for yourself when accused of a crime, but it is far too easy for investigators to turn anything you say against you. You may end up saying something to incriminate yourself without realizing it. By refusing to speak and requesting legal counsel, you can help your case by giving law enforcement investigators less to go on.
Your actions and words can make or break your case
Do not underestimate the power of your right to remain silent. It may be the best thing you can do for yourself, as your actions and words can make or break your case. So, be careful about what you say to investigators. To that end, also be careful about what you say to friends, family or anyone else who wants you to talk about your case, as they can testify against you should your case go to trial.