One of the most overlooked, and underused, right that we have as citizens of the United States of America is the right to remain silent. This right is nearly total, where many of our rights have massive exceptions the right to remain silent has very few. Many other countries do not confer upon their citizens the right to avoid questioning by the authorities, we are unique in that way.
Many times prospective clients come to us not realizing that they did not have to speak with police officers. In fact they were not aware that they only really needed to provide the police with their name, and identifying information. Some common examples of where exercising your right to remain silent might help you:
STOPPED ON SUSPICION OF OVI/DUI
The vast majority of our cases involving DUIs involve charges that started out of a traffic stop. Most of our clients were stopped for minor traffic violations (speed, light out, license plate), however, when the police approach to write the ticket people forget that they have the right to remain silent.
A police officer will ask “Where are you going?” or “Where are you coming from?” and most people will not hesitate to even answer. If you answer “From the bar” or “from a party” you can bet the next question will be “How much have you had to drink?” Note, you should never tell a lie to an officer – that is illegal, however, if you want to remain silent simply do not answer.
Another area where people fail to exercise their right to remain silent is when being called in for questioning. It is unfortunate that so many people go willingly to speak to the police about cases that have happened – not realizing the police exist to find evidence of crimes AND THEY WANT IT FROM YOU!
At Patituce & Associates our Cleveland Criminal Attorney is a former Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor. If you are in need of legal representation in the Cleveland, Ohio area, give us a call at (440) 709-8088.