Many people have at some point heard a cop in movies say the Miranda warnings:
“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. Do you understand these rights?”
These rights are covered under the Fifth Amendment.
When Is the Fifth Amendment Right Triggered?
Your Fifth Amendment rights are triggered when there is a custodial interrogation, meaning whether or not a reasonable person feels that they’re free to terminate the interrogation.
Once you invoke your Fifth Amendment rights, the questions must stop until you receive counsel to be present for questioning.
All you have to say is “I do not wish to speak without my attorney present”.
Even if you don’t technically have an attorney at the moment, invoking this right will allow you time to find an attorney before accidentally incriminating yourself.
What About Your Sixth Amendment Rights?
Your Sixth Amendment rights are triggered, however, when there is an interrogation after being formally charged when your right to counsel has been attached. Your Sixth Amendment rights mean that, for example, a confidential informant cannot ask you questions related to your pending formal charges. They can still ask you about charges other than those pending, so it’s best to be careful.
How To Get Help?
If you are confused as to the differences between your Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights, just remember that you will NEVER go wrong by simply keeping your mouth closed.