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The Right to Remain Silent: Not Just a Movie Quote

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

October 22, 2018

Anytime you watch a film in the crime drama category, you will undoubtedly hear the phrase, “you have the right to remain silent.” This phrase has become an integral part of the genre, which is probably why so many people see it as a novelty rather than a right of the arrested. Every day, people are accused of crimes but forget about their right to silence.  Hopefully, this blog will help you see the impact of this phrase.

The Right to Remain Silent

When someone is arrested, police must state the Miranda warning to the accused. Within the Miranda warning, we find the phrase, “you have the right to remain silent.” This phrase is one of the Miranda rights found within the Miranda warning (the right to an attorney being one of the other rights). This right is so important that if an officer forgets to tell the arrested about this right, it could get his or her case thrown out.

Unfortunately, many people forget they have this right despite receiving the Miranda warning. People forget this right mainly because of police officers. While police officers, by law, must state the Miranda warning, they can also lie to the accused in an attempt to get them to incriminate themselves.

Police officers tell the following lies to get the accused to forfeit their right to silence:

  • If you talk now, it will be easier for you down the road.
  • You can talk to me; I’m here to help.
  • You’re only making it worse by not telling us what happened.
  • We have a witness, so you better start talking.

Many of these tactics work because people trust police officers to tell them the truth. However, a police officer’s job is to get a charge on the accused that sticks. They are not there to help you; they are there to get you to talk. Therefore, should you ever be accused of a crime, make sure you use your right to remain silent: it’s more than a movie quote!

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