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Do you have the right to remain silent when you’re in the military?

| Jun 28, 2021 | Military Law

Most people know that civilians who are detained and subjected to interrogation are protected against self-incrimination by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They’re even entitled to be reminded of their rights through the Miranda Warning.

When you’re in the military, however, you know that civilian rules and military rules aren’t always the same.

Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice provides your protections

Just like the civilian world, the military affords its members certain rights whenever they are under investigation or arrest.

So what are your rights? They include:

  • The right to be free from self-incrimination. You cannot be compelled to answer questions that could incriminate you if you choose not to answer.
  • You are to be reminded of your right to remain silent and the fact that — should you choose to make any statements — those statements could be later used as evidence against you.
  • You must be informed by the authorities of what crime you are suspected or accused of committing.
  • You have the right to speak with an attorney before you answer any questions or before your case proceeds.

Just like in the civilian world, however, the authorities can often apply subtle pressure on suspects to get them to engage in conversation. Plus, anything less than an affirmative assertion of your rights may be ignored.

If you ever find yourself facing interrogation, remember to state loudly and clearly, “I do not waive my right to remain silent, and I want to stop this interview until I have spoken to my attorney.”

When you find yourself in trouble — on base or off — get help

Any criminal charge — whether you’re facing a military or a civilian court — can change the course of your entire career. Don’t waste any time speaking to a Texas defense attorney who understands the stakes.