Loose lips sink ships

Loose lips sink ships is defined by The Free Dictionary by Farlex as a warning to Don’t talk carelessly because you don’t know who is listening.  The phrase was popular in World War II among the Allies because they were worried that vital war information could be communicated to the enemy.

In a criminal case, the defendant’s words are often used to make the case and gain a conviction. The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution recognizes how damning one’s words can be by stating that no person can be compelled to testify against himself or herself.

Miranda warnings to those taken in custody state that a person in custody has the right to remain silent and that anything the person says can and will be used against the person in a court of law.  The use of Miranda warnings in television shows has elevated the phrase Miranda Warning to pop culture status.  Early in my legal career, a legal defense group sold hats that stated, “Nobody Talks – Everybody Walks.”

While the government cannot compel a criminal defendant to testify against himself or herself, the government can and will take any incriminating words it can legally get from a defendant and use them in court against the defendant. If the government uses these words out of context at trial the defendant may have to waive his or her Constitutional right to be silent in order to try to clarify what was said. This could be a damned if I do or damned if I don’t situation. It’s easily to see how this could be a no win situation for a criminal defendant.

The best way for a criminal defendant to stay out of this situation is not to say anything to anyone but his defense attorney!

If you are in trouble and need an attorney in the communities of Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Emporia, Hopewell, Nottoway, Petersburg, Powhatan, Prince George, Richmond, Surry or Sussex and you want to discuss your rights give Jay a call at (804) 668-5327 or Click Here to schedule an appointment.