A man who allegedly broke into a Richland home and held a knife to an 11-year-old girl’s throat is in custody in the Benton County Jail.

According to investigators, Jordan Smith broke into a house and ordered the girl to come with him. After a brief struggle, during which both Smith and the girl were injured, Smith fled. Investigators used DNA evidence to trace Smith to a nearby halfway house. He told them he had been drinking heavily and did not remember anything that happened that night. He did, however, admit that his knife was missing and that he had some injuries he could not explain and some blood that was not his.

Smith, who has nineteen prior misdemeanor convictions and five prior felony convictions, was held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

His criminal convictions include eight protective order violations involving the same woman. “If the police talk to you for any reason, it’s usually best to assert your right to remain silent,” said Seattle criminal defense attorney Lennard A. Nahajski. “It is almost impossible to talk your way out of an arrest. And, the more you say, the more evidence the state has against you in court.”

The right to remain silent is much broader than many people think, he added. The Fifth Amendment gives people the right to refuse to perform field sobriety tests, refuse to appear in a lineup, and refuse to do most other things, like try on a pair of rubber gloves.

However, this right is not absolute.

People must obey basic law enforcement commands, like “step out of the car.”  On a related matter, the Supreme Court has not yet decided if people have a fundamental right to film police officers on their cellphones. But that is the law in the Ninth Circuit, which includes Washington State. So, such conduct is legal, at least for now. Officers may still enforce time, place, and manner restrictions, like “step back if you want to film me.”

Furthermore, people must also provide certain documents for inspection, such as a drivers’ license and proof of automobile insurance. Attempts to add proof of citizenship to that list have so far failed.

Finally, these rights are not free. If DUI suspects refuse to submit chemical samples, that refusal could be used against them in court. Similarly, if suspects refuse to answer investigators’ questions, they almost always get arrested. However, as mentioned, if the police question you, they will probably arrest you, no matter what you say or do not say.

Officers must inform defendants of their right to remain silent, and other Constitutional rights, before they begin custodial interrogation. If they fail to do so, any statements or other evidence may be inadmissible in court.

Contact The Nahajski Firm Criminal Defense to discuss your case today.