Lindell Law Offices, PLLC
4409 California Ave SW Suite 100
Seattle, WA 98116
Attorney at Law
The Right to Remain Silent:
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that, "[N]o person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." Similarly Article I, Section 9 of Washington's Constitution provides that "no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to give evidence against himself…". As a suspect in a crime, you are not obligated to provide the police with a statement. If you exercise your right to remain silent, absent other circumstances, that silence cannot be used against you at trial.
What are the Miranda Warnings?
The United States Supreme Court has determined that the prohibition against self-incrimination contained in the Fifth Amendment requires that any custodial interrogation by law enforcement officers be preceded by the now familiar Miranda warnings. The Miranda case provides that prior to interrogation of a defendant who is in custody "or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way", the police must warn him or her that (1)he has the right to remain silent; (2) that any statement he makes may be used as evidence against him; (3)that he is entitled to consult with a lawyer and have a lawyer with him during police interrogation; (4) than a lawyer will be provided for him if he can't afford one; and, (5) that he may exercise any of these rights at any point during the interrogation. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 471, 86 S. Ct. 1602 (1966). The Miranda warnings are designed to protect the defendant's Fifth Amendment right against self -incrimination resulting from either coercion or deceptive police practices that occur in-custody interrogations. See, Heinmand v. Whitman County, 105 Wn.2d 796, 718 P. 2d 789 (1986).