How to Exercise Your 5th Amendment Rights After Getting Arrested in Brooklyn, NY
Every day, NYPD arrests people for all manner of crimes here in Brooklyn. And many don’t know that what you do or don’t do after your arrest can make a big difference to how your case progresses.
It is vital that you understand your rights and how to exercise them.
Don’t wait for a Miranda warning.
While the police are required to inform you of your right to remain silent at arrest, your right to remain silent always exists. They also don’t have to read you a Miranda warning until you’re under arrest, which can create some problems. Being detained and questioned isn’t the same as being arrested.
In addition, if you just remain silent prior to invoking your rights it can be used against you in court later, thanks to the 2013 Supreme Court case, Salinas v. Texas. The prosector will use sudden silence against you if you’d previously been speaking to the police.
Even whether or not you seem concerned can be used against you if you start talking at all.
Lying to the police can be used against you later. In New York, making a false statement can result in being charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which can be sentenced by a year in jail and fines.
It may not seem very fair. Police get to lie with impunity, to the point where testilying has become a buzzword. But when you’re having an encounter with the police, they’re the ones with the power.
Invoking Your Rights
The moment you start interacting with police, it’s usually better to say, “I invoke my right to remain silent, and I invoke my right to an attorney.”
Even if you think you are only a witness it is better to wait until your attorney is present before you start speaking.
Don’t talk to the police hoping that you will prove your innocence. It never works. They never say “Oh we’re very sorry we made this mistake,” and then let you go. You may give them what you think is helpful, exculpatory information only to see that answer used against you later.
Don’t answer police questions. Even if you are 100% sure you are only a witness, make sure there’s a lawyer present at all times. If they say, “You don’t need a lawyer, you’re just a witness,” you can say, “I make it a point of personal policy never to interact with law enforcement without a lawyer.”
Waiving these rights will not make you look innocent. But they may ensure that it becomes impossible to prove that you were guilty.