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Can A Person Waive The Right To Remain Silent?

Can a person waive the right to remain silent?  The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to remain silent, often referred to as “pleading the fifth.”  Ohio also guarantees this right in Article 1, Section 10 of the Ohio Constitution.


In the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the court said that the following warnings must be given prior to a custodial interrogation:


You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.  You have the right to an attorney.  If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.


These rights may be waived, as long as the waiver is knowing, voluntary and intelligent.  The United States Supreme Court set forth the standard for waiver in Moran v. Burbine, 475 U.S. 412 (1986), when stated that the totality of the circumstances surrounding the interrogation must reveal both an uncoerced choice and the requisite level of comprehension for a waiver to be valid.  In doing so, a court must consider the suspect’s age, experience, education, background and intelligence.  The court must also consider whether the person has the capacity to understand the warnings.  This does not require the “suspect to know and understand every possible consequence of a waiver of the Fifth Amendment privilege,” but it does mandate “that a suspect know . . . that he may choose not to talk to law enforcement officers, to talk only with counsel present, or to discontinue talking at any time.”  Quotes are from the United States Supreme Court decision in Colorado v. Spring, 479 U.S. 564 (1987).


To read more about criminal law issues, click on my other criminal law articles: you have the right to remain silent in Ohio, can the police force me to talk, can Ohio police pull you over when you are not doing anything wrong, how a tip can get you pulled over in Ohio, agreeing to a search in Ohio, what Ohio police can do if they are in hot pursuit, Ohio police use helpful traffic stops to get evidence, skipping out on bond in Ohio can give the prosecutor more time to charge you with more crimes, police can search your garbage in Ohio, and best practices when pulled over by the police. I have successfully defended individuals for both misdemeanor and felony offenses, as set forth in the case highlights section.



Attorney Gigiano is a Medina County felony trial attorney in Wadsworth, Ohio.  If you have questions about this or other questions you need answered by an experienced Wooster felony trial attorney near Orrville or an Akron felony trial attorney near Barberton, please call Attorney Daniel F. Gigiano at 330-336-3330.  Attorney Gigiano has tried over thirty-five criminal jury trials to a verdict, many of them in Medina County, Summit County and Wayne County.   As a result of his hard work and dedication, Daniel Gigiano’s reviews in numerous websites are well-received, and his work is documented in several articles and links.