Here’s a question I asked once before in an earlier Miranda thread, and the answers I got were either vague or maybe over my head:
If I understand (or think I understand) my right to remain silent, why do I need a lawyer?
First of all, let’s clarify if I correctly understand what Miranda was about: I think I’ve always, even before Miranda, had the right to silence, to a lawyer, and whatever else Miranda says. Miranda didn’t create any of those rights. All Miranda did was to imply (not even require, but simply imply) that police must proactively make sure that the people they interrogate are aware of those rights, lest their statements might be thrown out. So police Mirandize their subjects, not to protect the subjects, but to protect the cases they are trying to build.
Is that a correct understanding?
Now, to my original question: If I know my right to remain silent, and assert that right at the beginning of an interrogation, why do I need a lawyer to help me assert that right?
And, a tangential question: In asserting my right to silence, is it essential that I use some legally-correct language? In particular, must I specifically say that I am asserting my right under the 5th Amendment? What if I simply say: “With due respect [or not] I decline to answer any questions, as is my right” (without mentioning the 5th Amendment)? Is that all I need to say?