Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How Being Silent Can Be Used to Convict You - In Texas

Criminal lawyers highly recommend you take note of a new Texas Supreme Court ruling, Salinas v. Texas, decided on June 17, 2013. The Supreme Court in Texas has ruled that silence used by a person when being interrogated for a crime by the police or those working for law enforcement, such as detectives, before being arrested or read your Miranda rights, can be used against you as evidence.

In the case that caused the ruling, Genovevo Salinas voluntarily answered all questions police asked him, except one, the question on whether the shotgun shells found at the crime scene matched the shotgun found at his home. The defense lawyers representing Salinas objected that Salina's silence should not be entered as evidence in trial, but the court allowed it. Salinas' silence was used by the prosecuting district attorney to convict him for murder.

The Supreme Court in Texas made it also clear that, because Salinas did not invoke his right to the Fifth Amendment, the prosecuting attorney could use his silence as evidence.

Criminal lawyers know that this recent Supreme Court ruling will change the way Texas law enforcement conducts investigations, questions witnesses and suspects, and how they advise them of their Miranda rights. This new ruling will also affect the way prosecutors in Texas use evidence to prove a defendant guilty. Top criminal lawyers advise you to never, under any circumstance, voluntarily consent to a meeting with law enforcement or go voluntarily to a police station in Texas without first talking to a criminal lawyer. If you are physically confronted by law enforcement in an investigation and have not had the advice of an attorney, criminal lawyers advise you to formally invoke the Fifth Amendment. You can simply say, "I plead the Fifth amendment."

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