The Right to Remain Silent––An Overview

The right to remain silent is a basic right in the US that can help you avoid incriminating yourself during an arrest. Unfortunately, most people do not understand the scope of this right and when it can be exercised

It is important to defend your right to remain silent and if you thought you must wait for your rights to be read by an arresting police officer, then you’re wrong. The right to remain silent matters and therefore, everybody should know when to use it. That said, most people consult or call a criminal lawyer in Toronto when facing criminal charges or arrests.

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Why is the Right to Remain Silent Important?

A major benefit/advantage of the right to remain silent is that it can help you avoid self-incrimination. When facing arrest, you may think that engaging the arresting officer will help you defend yourself but unfortunately, your words may come back to haunt and incriminate you.

Always remember that your answers (during arrest) may be used against you and may be the basis of your prosecution. When you remain silent during arrest, you avoid uttering words that may be used against you. Besides, silence will never be quoted anywhere.

The right to remain silent can be important when detained, arrested, or interrogated (questioned). Without extracting information directly from you, the police must consider other forms of evidence that may be needed by the court to file charges against you.

 

How the Right to Remain Silent Affects the Police

An arresting police officer will try to get as much information from you as possible before you’re presented to a judge and that’s why they use any means to make you talk. Consequently, you deny them that privilege when you remain silent. No one can force you to speak, meaning they’ll be forced to find the information they require using other means, such as finding witnesses to substantiate their claims or to convince the judge.

You should be careful when exercising your right to remain silent. You may have a valid reason to remain silent but you should also consider the intentions of the arresting officers. The very fact that you’re being questioned indicates that there’s something important the officer wants to get from you.

Defending Your Right to Remain Silent

You should not be coerced or forced to speak during an arrest because it’s your constitutional right. In other words, you shouldn’t be intimidated by an arresting officer to speak if you do not wish to. Whether it is during arrest or interrogation, let the arresting officers understand that you’re aware and understand your rights.

Why the Right to Remain silent Matters and When to Use It

  1. A Right to Protect

 You might have come across the phrase the right to remain silent if you’re a movie or TV lover, meaning this right is a well-known right in Canada. However, the scope of this right and how it can protect you during an arrest is less publicized or known–meaning few people take benefit from it when it counts most. Also, most people believe that their rights must be read to them before being arrested but it’s not true.

  1. Use it or Lose It

You’re not obligated to answer any questions from an arresting police officer. However, you could still be arrested even if you fail to answer the questions. However, you can invoke the right to remain silent and protect yourself from self-incrimination at that point. Furthermore, what you say may be used against you during a legal proceeding. Always remember that your statements during an arrest are not treated as hearsay. In other words, an arresting officer can testify against you without any corroborating evidence.

What are my rights if I am arrested?

The rights of arrested or detained persons in Canada are specified in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a part of the Canadian Constitution. These rights include:

  • The arresting officer must inform the arrested or detained person why they’re being investigated;
  • An arrested or detained person has a right to a lawyer and legal services;
  • The arrested or detained person should be informed about their right to legal aid and free legal advice if they can’t afford to hire legal services, and
  • Arrested or detained persons are allowed to speak, in private, to lawyers of their choice, as soon as possible, if they require to do so.

In Canada, the presence of a lawyer during questioning is not necessary, unless the arrested person is under 18. Also, the presence of a lawyer may be denied if you’ve already spoken to one in a previous questioning session.

The right to remain silent is a constitutional right for all Canadians. For more on this subject, it’s wise to consult a criminal lawyer in Toronto or Canada.