It’s Your Right to Remain Silent

Police seek to interview people suspected of crimes in North Charleston and elsewhere in South Carolina for many reasons. If you find yourself in that position, you must be aware of your rights in South Carolina.. You must remember that it is your right to remain silent. It is a personal decision to speak to police and no one can take that away from you. Law enforcement investigators in North Charleston and elsewhere know this. Investigators want to get you talking and are motivated to get you talking. When you speak to police as a suspect they are evaluating what you say against the evidence they already have and may also discover new evidence based upon your statement. Your statement can be used in court against you if you speak with police, even if it is not a confession. However, any statement you make may only be admitted in court if the police followed the rules. If the police violated your rights, including the right to remain silent, your statement cannot be used against you. North Charleston criminal defense attorney Rad S. Deaton will fight on your behalf to get your statement to police thrown out of court if the police violated your rights.

Your Miranda Warnings in South Carolina

Most people are familiar with the right to remain silent. The right to remain silent is the first right recited when police inform someone of their Miranda warnings. The general public is familiar with the Miranda warnings from watching TV and movies. Unfortunately, many people misunderstand when the Miranda warnings must be given to someone. The police are not required to “Mirandize” a person before asking any questions. So, if you are on the street and have witnessed a crime, the police are not required to give you Miranda warnings. The Miranda warnings must be given when a person is in custody and the police are asking questions that could lead to giving incriminating responses. The police are not obligated to give the Miranda warnings every time they place someone under arrest. The standard booking questions are not designed to lead to incriminating responses. Only when you are under arrest, whether formally or in a situation when you are not free to leave, and police are asking questions the answers to which can harm you, then police must give you the entire set of Miranda warnings.

The purpose of the Miranda warnings is to make certain the suspect of a crime knows they have the right to remain silent and have the right to counsel. These warnings must be given prior to any questioning. The suspect may waive his right to remain silent and to not have an attorney present during questioning. Invoking the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney must be made unambiguously. Once either right has been invoked, then the police must immediately cease questioning. Failure to do so will result in suppression of the remaining statement from evidence in court.

Keeping a Suspect’s Statement Out of Court

A suspect’s statement may be suppressed from court for other reasons. A person must “knowingly and voluntarily” waive the rights afforded by Miranda. If the Miranda waiver is not both knowingly and voluntarily made then the waiver is invalid and the statement may not be used in court. “Knowingly” in this instance means the suspect was fully aware of the right to remain silent and have counsel present and understand the consequences of waiving those rights. “Voluntarily” means that the decision to waive the right to remain silent and proceed with questioning without counsel was made by the suspect’s free will. A waiver is involuntary if it was coerced, obtained by deception, or intimidation.

Not only must the Miranda waiver be made knowingly and voluntarily, but the suspect’s decision to make a confession must also be the product of free will with knowledge of consequences. In South Carolina, the confession is involuntary if a person’s will was overborne. South Carolina courts evaluate voluntariness in the “totality of the circumstances.” The “totality of the circumstances” test evaluates the individual suspect and the police conduct during the interrogation as well as the circumstances under which the interrogation took place. The courts will analyze the suspect’s age, educational level, previous familiarity with the criminal justice system, physical and mental health, mental state at the time of questioning, sleep deprivation, hunger, the location and duration of the interrogation, promises of leniency, coercion, and misrepresentations by police to determine if the confession was voluntarily made. The confession must be suppressed if it was not voluntarily made.

Call An Experienced North Charleston Criminal Defense Attorney For Help

South Carolina criminal defense attorney Rad S. Deaton recommends that you demand to contact an attorney immediately if police seek to question you. Most often you are only helping police and hurting yourself if you have been arrested and answer more than routine booking questions. As an experienced and zealous advocate for criminal defendants in South Carolina, Rad S. Deaton of the Deaton Law Firm, LLC will fight to protect your rights and have tainted evidence thrown out of court. Call South Carolina criminal defense attorney Rad S. Deaton today at 843-225-5723 during business hours or after hours at 843-557-6852 for immediate assistance.

2017-12-30T12:50:22+00:00 January 22nd, 2016|Criminal Defense|0 Comments