Do people have the right to remain silent?
What does that right really mean, and when is it used?
I guess in the traditional sense, it means that if the police arrest you, they can't force you to talk.
But then again, we all were born with free will and nobody can make us talk anyway. Of course, there could be consequences for not talking...
Not only do people have the right to be silent, many people have the duty to be silent. So many people crave a moment in the sun, or their fifteen minutes of fame, they will stretch the truth so far out of shape that it is unrecognizable. In doing so have condemned many people to prison and possibly worse. DNA testing has set so many people free that were imprisoned falsely because of people who would not excercise their duty to remain silent. How many people have been executed before they could be found innocent? Silence is golden and well worth its weight.
That right is a US constitutional guarantee, and is famous because it is mentioned as the first item of the "Miranda" list, which for several decades now has ritually been administered to arrestees for criminal offenses at an early stage in the process. As a consequence, it's very familiar to anyone who watches US-based police TV shows. It means that accused persons in the US have no obligation to tell police anything. Interrogations are supposed to stop when the accused requests an attorney.
In the bad old days, there was no legal protection against self-incrimination; basically, you could be beaten into admissions of guilt which could then be used to convict you. (The ultimate, perhaps, were the infamous courts of the various Inquisitions, which systematically tortured people in very large numbers in order to secure confessions which supposedly would save souls.) The framers of the Constitution rejected this obviously unjust practice, and the courts have tended to strengthen protections over the years.
Though many nations have similar protections--for instance, Canada has the Charter of Rights--some jurisdictions may have different standards, and protection against self-incrimination may be weak or even non-existent. Also, some countries or localities may not observe their own standards--and when crime rates are high and people are worried about their security, legal standards can look like foolish "technicalities" which only stand in the way of getting dangerous criminals off the street.
Then there is political pressure to erode protections. The risk, of course, is that the wrongfully accused then suffer wrongful conviction as a result.
People do have the right to remain silent depending on the circumstances they find themselves. But in general, remaining silent makes you vulnerable, and therefore it is very important that we speak up when we have the opportunity to. When you say your mind you will be better understood.
All of us have our own rights. And remaining silent is one of it.
No,they do not have the right to remain silent. If an illegal act occurs and you say nothing, then that means you are in agreement with the illegal act. It takes guts to step out and help someone other than yourself. In the long run you will be glad you did. It won't be easy to do so but you can do it.
Where does the phrase, "You have the right to remain silent," come from? What does this have to do with "Pleading the 5th?" The answers are here. read more
I absolutely believe people have the right to remain silent...even though that choice might hurt them more in the end.
Some of these answers are terrifying me. NEVER EVER say ANYTHING when you are initially arrested or questioned by the police! You have the right to remain silent for a reason; you NEED it! Police always run belt recorders and their job is to try and get you to incriminate yourself. Just shut your mouth. All you are allowed to say (according to me) is "Officer, with all do respect, I refuse to speak without my attorney." After that, they cannot ask you again if you want to talk. You have to inform them when you are ready to speak to them. The right to remain silent is actually nothing more than protection against self-incrimination which is constitutionally upheld. Now, pleading the 5th in court is up to you and your attorney. But in the initial encounter with police, NEVER say ANYTHING. EVER EVER EVER.
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