You Do (Not) Have The Right To Remain Silent

What you should probably know about the Miranda Warning, the Fifth Amendment, and recent court decisions

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation

As noted in this recent NPR segment, the fifth amendment has largely been taken out of context as a result of the Miranda WarningIt is entirely true you can remain silent in matters in which you are compelled to incriminate yourself, however, there is no constitutional protection for keeping your mouth shut.

Your silence can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Here is the case of Richard Tom, who’s silence following a deadly crash was entered as evidence of his guilt. I do not condone Tom’s actions of operating a motor-vehicle with a BAC in excess of 0.08 that led to the death of another person. That is reprehensible behavior easy to prove without having to rely on his demeanor while under police custody.

Nothing new to the paranoid and pedantic readers of this site I am sure, but the next time you deal with the cops don’t say you weren’t warned.