Monday, June 17, 2013

"Silence" can be used against them even though he or she has not even been told yet of his or her right to remain silent, California DUI attorneys hear of the new U.S. Supreme Court decision.

A frequent question asked California DUI lawyers is "what is the effect of not being read my Miranda rights?"  The disappointing answer in DUI cases can be read here, remind DUI attorneys in California.  Implied Consent takes away one's right to speak to an attorney before having to blow or provide a blood sample, drunk driving lawyers in San Diego know.

Today things got even worse.  The country's highest Court says now that a person's "silence" can be used against them even though he or she has not even been told yet of his or her right to remain silent.  In Salinas v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 against the accused who was convicted of murder.  During questioning with cops, and prior to being arrested or advised of Miranda rights, Mr. Salinas answered a number of questions but did not answer when questioned about a shotgun he had access to would match up with the murder weapon.

Texas prosecuting attorneys used this silence on that question as part of their case to convict, suggesting it demonstrated his guilt.  He appealed based on the U.S. Constitution, 5th Amendment right to remain silent.  The Texas courts disagreed, stating silence before Miranda admonition is not protected by that 5th Amendment.

So much for Americans' belief in the right against forced self-incrimination.   Or at least in cases when the defendant answers some but not all questions and when he/she does not invoke his right to remain silent.  Since he was not arrested and not compelled to talk, his silence got no protection from the U.S. Constitution, the Justices felt.  He should have claimed the protection of his privilege against self-incrimination, attorneys analyze.