From movies and television shows to real life, we have all seen the reading of a suspect's Miranda rights. The United States Supreme Court and the Fifth Amendment guarantee your right to remain silent when you are under criminal investigation.
The right to silence protects us from incriminating ourselves for any criminal actions. Keep in mind, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” It is imperative to invoke your right to remain silent early in the criminal process, whether or not you are formally in custody.
Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of telling the police everything they know in order to “tell their side of the story” or explain their way out of a situation. Remember, what you say could later be used to build a case against you. It is wise to simply sit quietly and wait to speak with a lawyer who will be representing you.
However, if you simply remain silent after being read your Miranda rights—or even if you are not formally in custody—you are not actually invoking your right to remain silent. Simply put, you need to say something with regard to your choice to remain silent in order to be silent.
So if you are being questioned for any specific reason and you wish to not answer questions, you must state something along the lines of “I wish to invoke my right to remain silent” or “I wish to speak with a lawyer before answering questions.” Just because you make such a statement doesn't mean that you are guilty. In fact, the opposite is true. An effective legal defense for any criminal charges works best with the use of these rights.