Whether you’ve been arrested or not, we’ve all heard about “the right to remain silent.” Your right to remain silent when you get arrested and accused of a crime is a part of your Miranda rights — which are civil rights afforded to all individuals accused of a crime.
By virtue of your Miranda rights, you can stay silent when authorities question you about alleged criminal behavior. You also have the right to representation of an attorney. However, in many cases where police say they obtained an alleged confession from a defendant, police will say that the defendant waived his or her right to remain silent and chose to make an incriminating statement or confession.
The thing is, in order for a defendant to waive his or her Miranda rights, the defendant must have been informed of these rights and understand them. This is why police will read the defendant his or her rights, so that — if the defendant chooses to make an incriminating statement — it can be used as evidence to try and convict the defendant in court.
Defendants could waive the right to remain silent or the right to legal representation with an express or implied waiver. An express waiver of Miranda rights involves the defendant stating or agreeing in writing that the right to a lawyer or the right to stay silent has been waived. An implied waiver involves the defendant acting in a way that shows he or she has knowingly waived these rights.
Many suspects have successfully defended themselves against criminal accusations by showing that their Miranda rights were violated. If, for example, police obtained an alleged confession without the suspect first waiving his or her Miranda rights, that confession will not be admissible as evidence that can be used against the suspect in court.
Source: FindLaw, “Waiving Miranda Rights,” accessed Oct. 06, 2017