Getting stopped by a police officer while you are on vacation can be stressful, even if you have done nothing wrong. It is important to remember that while you should always act respectfully when dealing with law enforcement, you do not always have to answer an officer’s questions, particularly if they are violating your Constitutional rights.
You have the right to remain silent
Generally, tourists facing crimes are required to provide officers with their names and other basic information when asked. However, they do not have to say much more than that. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects people from self-incrimination.
If a Myrtle Beach officer wants to interrogate you following your arrest, they must first read you your Miranda rights. Miranda rights include some variation of the following statements:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say may be used against you in court.
- You have the right to an attorney.
- If you do not have an attorney, one will be appointed to you.
Once the officer has read you your rights, you may request an attorney and refrain from answering any of the officer’s questions. If the officer fails to read you your rights before questioning you, your answers may be thrown out of your case due to violations of the Fifth Amendment.
A criminal defense attorney can help determine whether your Constitutional rights have been violated and formulate a strategy to defend against any charges you face.