Last month on June 17th, the Supreme Court arrived at a 5-4 decision in the case Salinas v. Texas, declaring that a suspect’s silence prior to being taken into police custody as admissible in trial as evidence. This decision came out of a case where the police questioned a suspect for an hour before he was in custody. When asked about whether shells at the crime scene belonged
to his gun, the suspect squirmed and remained silent. After this questioning, the suspect was charged with murder and then read his Miranda rights.
You still have Fifth Amendment rights, but the rules have changed. During any amount of time pre-custody, as long as the police do not convey that you are legally bound to answer, an officer has every right to question you and search you and your belongings. You further have the right to refuse (though cooperating with the police usually is helpful and may look better when looking into your case). An officer does not have to read you Miranda rights until you are placed into police custody and are officially being interrogated. Custody can refer to any instance where you are clearly not free to leave. Outside of custody, no Miranda rights have to be read. Whatever you say or don’t say can still be used against you. To remain silent and to not have this used against you, you have to specifically say that you want to invoke your right to silence. Only after Miranda rights does the right to remain silent automatically kick in.
Before any Miranda rights are read, and before consulting with an attorney, every single citizen is now expected to know and act on their Fifth Amendment rights if they want to keep them. This close decision by the court just might have a far-reaching effect. At The Law Offices of Brian Jones, LLC, we are fiercely committed to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohio residents. If you have any further questions about what rights you have and how to use them, do not hesitate to contact a Delaware criminal defense lawyer today.