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How speaking with law enforcement can shape your case

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2023 | Criminal Defense

We have all heard the line “you have the right to remain silent.” As many of our readers in Hawaii might know, this is supposed to be stated by law enforcement officers to criminal suspects as part of the “Miranda Rights” – a warning that, if suspects do not remain silent, then anything they say can be “used against them.” So, as you may have guessed, speaking with law enforcement officers can have a significant impact on any criminal case you might face.

Know your rights

But, can you refuse to speak with law enforcement officers when they question you? Well, for the most part, the answer is “yes.” The Miranda Rights is a simplified way of stating your constitutional rights as a criminal arrestee or defendant. You have the constitutional right to avoid incriminating yourself. That means you do not have to answer questions from law enforcement officers beyond, perhaps, giving your name or showing your driver’s license, for example.

Law enforcement officers know this, but they will still attempt to speak with arrestees and defendants. They are allowed to do so – it is up to the individual facing the questions to “remain silent.” And, if you say anything incriminating, such statements will indeed be used against you. However, typically, if an arrestee or defendant asks for an attorney to be present during questioning, officers will stop the questioning until the attorney arrives.

If you are facing a criminal case in Hawaii, it is important to know your rights. Those who face arrest or who have been charged with a crime have quite a few constitutional rights that are intended to protect them from government authorities.