Experienced Juvenile & Criminal Defense Attorney: Understanding Your Right to Remain Silent

Exercise Your Right to Speak to Attorney Kirk Waible First

If the police want to speak to you or your child, politely refuse and immediately contact experienced juvenile & criminal defense attorney Kirk Waible. A person's own incriminating statements are always the worst evidence against them. The police are trained on this reality and will direct your answers to lock you into statutory definitions of the most serious criminal offenses possible. On juvenile cases, many investigating officers will attempt to get a parent to waive their child's right to have a parent or legal guardian present when their child is being interrogated. This is never in your child's best interest. Attorney Kirk Waible will provide experienced, competent counsel on whether you should exercise your constitutional right to make a statement with him present or persist in your or your child's constitutional right to remain silent. 

What Constitutes Miranda and 5th Amendment Rights in Colorado ?

United States and Colorado citizens have constitutional rights that protect them when interacting with the police and criminal justice system. These rights are known as 5th and 6th amendment rights, which were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona. 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Many people probably know about them from popular TV shows or action movies but may not know exactly what these rights mean. 

Anyone who has been taken into custody and interrogated by the police must first be read their Miranda rights. The reading of your Miranda rights is known as a ‘Miranda warning' because the police are “warning” you of your constitutional:

  • Right to remain silent, because anything you say can be used against in court
  • Right to have an attorney present if you decide to speak to the police 
  • Right to a lawyer, even if you cannot afford the services of a private attorney

The 5th and 6th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution are in place to ensure equal protection under the law. Violation of Miranda rights may be reason enough to suppress any incriminating evidence against you so long as that evidence was obtained from the constitutional violation. Motions to suppress or motions to exclude evidence flowing from a Miranda Rights violation can be a critical part of your defense. The key is for you to be firm and request a lawyer when the police want to speak to you about your possible involvement in a crime. You do not have to given a "Miranda" warning to exercise your right to remain silent and request an attorney. It's just an advisement of the rights you already have. 5th and 6th amendment rights protect us at all stages of a criminal investigation and prosecution. 

Determining if Miranda Rights Were Violated in Colorado

You always have the right against compelled self-incrimination and the right to a lawyer. Miranda requires that people be informed of these rights should they ever be:

  • Taken into police custody, and
  • Subjected to interrogation.

If you were taken into custody and interrogated about criminal activity without being “Mirandized” (read your Miranda rights), any evidence provided during that interrogation may be excluded from court. Knowing what these terms mean can help you understand whether your Miranda rights were violated.

  • Custody means a reasonable person would think they were in custody if they were in the same situation. If you are held against your will, you likely have been taken into custody. For example, being put into the back of a police car in handcuffs typically means you are in the custody of the police. 
  • Subjected to interrogation means the police ask questions specifically intended to elicit incriminating statements. For example, asking why you did it or where you hid a stolen item are questions that are subjecting you to an interrogation.

One word of caution: your words can still haunt you even if you were able to prove your Miranda rights were violated and, as a result, were able to suppress the evidence flowing from that violation. At trial, incriminating statements can be used to impeach you. This means your statements can be used to show you lied or are not fully telling the truth while on the stand.

Are There Exceptions When Miranda Warnings Are Not Required?

There are exceptions to when the police must issue a Miranda warning. The most significant exclusion is if you are not in custody. Law enforcement is well trained to ask people as many incriminating questions as possible prior to placing them in custody. It is therefore critical to understand that you do not have to be in custody to exercise your constitutional right to remain silent.  A common law enforcement tactic is to "invite" you to "voluntary" meeting at the police station so that "they can get your side of the story". This is done so that the police do not have to remind you that you should talk to a lawyer first.