Right to Remain Silent
Whether you’ve heard it on TV or in person, you’re familiar with the right to remain silent. The police are required to read it to anyone they arrest as part of their Miranda Rights. This right allows people to refuse to talk without a lawyer present or even let their lawyer speak on their behalf.
It comes in handy when you consider the second part of the declaration, which is that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Many people opt to keep quiet for fear of incriminating themselves if they do speak.
Far predating the Miranda Rights are your Fifth Amendment Rights. The Fifth Amendment states that “no person shall be… compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This ties in with your right to remain silent. It essentially means that you aren’t required to say anything that could be used against you.
When You Can Remain Silent
That’s how those rights apply to a criminal case. It’s quite a bit different when you’re talking about a civil court case in Okmulgee. In civil cases, no one is being charged with a crime. Therefore, they don’t need to protect themselves from incrimination. Most of the time, that is.
In some civil cases, you may be asked a question whose answer could implicate you in a crime. In that case, you could plead the Fifth and exercise your right to remain silent. However, you’d be forfeiting your right to testify at all in the case. Additionally, the court is allowed to draw negative inferences from your silence, which is something they can’t do in a criminal case.
The Okmulgee court may assume the worst from your silence, which could hurt your case. Let’s say you’re going through a divorce, and your wife is accusing you of cheating. If the court asks you if that’s true, you won’t be able to deny it unless it’s not true. You can’t deny awful but lawful things. Even if it could hurt your case, you have to admit to cheating since it’s not a crime.
That being said, there are some situations where you can plead the Fifth when asked that same question. If answering the question could implicate you in a crime, you have the right to remain silent. Of course, the court then has the right to assume the worst. Let’s say the person you’re cheating with is a minor or a relative. Since having sexual relations with either of those people is illegal, you don’t have to answer the question since it could incriminate you.
Now, the Okmulgee court might assume that you’re sleeping with someone illegally since your silence implies that you’ve committed a crime you don’t want to admit to. However, they have no evidence and, therefore, can’t charge you unless they get evidence elsewhere.
Free Consultation with an Okmulgee Defense Attorney
If you’re involved in a civil case and have questions about when you have the right to remain silent, contact a defense attorney from Wirth Law Office – Okmulgee. They can advise you on how to move forward. For a free consultation, call (918) 756-9600 or fill out the form at the top of this page.