When Can Silence Be Used Against You?

You have a 5th Amendment right to remain silent. It is almost always best not to speak to the police. Do not fall for their tricks! They are building a case, not seeking justice.

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Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that (among other things) you have the right to remain silent and the right against incriminating yourself. In a landmark ruling and a straining effort to assist law enforcement at the expense of every American’s civil liberties, the Court has now ruled that a person cannot stand mute to evoke the privilege automatically. Under the new United States Supreme Court case Salinas v Texas (decided June 17, 2013), the Court ruled that privilege is not self-executing and that a witness who desires to use its protection must affirmatively claim it. In other words, the backward ruling is that speaking is the only way to invoke your right to remain silent. If you fail to assert your right to remain silent, the prosecutor can use your silence against you.

If a person remains silent and does not answer an incriminating question during a custodial interview – this is insufficient to assert the privilege, and the government can use the silence against that person at trial. Under these circumstances, you must state that you assert your Fifth Amendment right not against self-incrimination or risk your silence being used against you.

If you are subpoenaed to testify, there is no need to expressly invoke the privilege against self-incrimination. You can hire a lawyer who can invoke your rights on your behalf.

The Supreme Court held that it is not difficult for a defendant to say they are not answering questions on Fifth Amendment grounds. When there is a failure to do so, it is insufficient to notify police that the suspect is relying on their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Essentially, the Court has found that police cannot understand silence, and a person must explain why they are silent.

When can silence be used against you?

A witness’s constitutional right to refuse to answer questions depends on his reason for refusing to answer. The court needs to know the reason for evaluating the merits of the Fifth Amendment claim. What burden does this put on the average American unfamiliar with the legal justice system? In a terrible place, because the average person who wishes to remain silent, even innocent people, will justifiably and understandably think that they can just not talk in response to questions and that their Constitution will protect them. Under the new ruling of the Supreme Court, even an innocent person’s silence will be used against them. This is unfortunate and wrong, and for the defense attorney specialists with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., these rulings only motivate us to fight even harder for our clients who are charged with state and federal, misdemeanor and felony criminal offenses.

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How to Stop The Government from Using Your Silence as Evidence

Navigating the delicate balance between protecting your rights and avoiding incriminating yourself is crucial when facing criminal charges. Understanding and exercising your Fifth Amendment rights is the key to ensuring your silence isn’t used against you in court. At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., a top-tier criminal defense law firm in Michigan, we employ a strategic team approach to educate our clients on the power of their silence. Our expert attorneys prioritize clear and timely communication with our clients, guiding them on when and how to exercise their right to remain silent. By securing skilled legal representation early on, you can safeguard your rights and prevent misinterpretation of your silence as guilt. Our firm is renowned for fighting tirelessly for extraordinary outcomes, ensuring that every client receives the highest level of service and legal protection against the use of their silence as evidence.

Why is LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. your best defense?

When the stakes are as high as a conviction or acquittal, the choice of your defense attorney becomes the most crucial decision you’ll make. Opting for a seasoned, successful, respected, and influential defense lawyer can be the deciding factor between facing jail time and walking free. At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., our attorneys are not just defenders; they are influential figures in the legal community, possessing the respect and recognition that can sway negotiations and court rulings in your favor. Their extensive experience and successful track records reflect a deep understanding of the law and the ability to craft defense strategies that challenge even the most daunting accusations. Our firm is dedicated to securing the most favorable outcomes for our clients, whether that’s achieving a dismissal, negotiating for reduced charges, or turning a potential jail sentence into probation. By hiring a defense attorney from LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., you gain more than legal representation; you gain a powerful advocate who will tirelessly fight for your rights and future. When you hire our firm to defend and protect you, you can expect the following:

  • Extensive experience in criminal defense
  • Proven track record of success in similar cases
  • Aggressive and assertive courtroom demeanor
  • High level of respect and influence in the legal community
  • Excellent negotiation skills
  • Thorough understanding of the law and legal precedents
  • Strategic and analytical thinking
  • Commitment to client communication and transparency
  • Ability to work under pressure and tight deadlines
  • Compassion and understanding of the client’s personal situation
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

A Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney will help when constitutional issues need to be evaluated and assessed.

When you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor offense, and there is a possibility that your constitutional rights have been violated, it is essential that you have legal representation that has experience, knowledge, and expertise in constitutional law issues. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of combined legal experience in criminal and constitutional law matters. You need to have your rights protected and not allow the government to overstep its bounds. Call us for a free consultation. We will take the time to talk with you and answer your questions, such as, “Can silence be used against you?” We will find a way to help you!

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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