WASHINGTON – Want to invoke your right to remain silent? You’ll have to speak up.

In a narrowly split decision, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority expanded limits on the famous Miranda rights for criminal suspects on Tuesday.

New Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the dissenters, said the ruling turned Americans’ rights of protection from police abuse “upside down.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, said a suspect who talks to police after being informed he doesn’t have to, in effect, waives his right to remain silent.

Elena Kagan, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to join the court, sided with the police as U.S. solicitor general when the case came before the court. She would replace Justice John Paul Stevens, one of the dissenters.

A right to remain silent and a right to a lawyer are at the top of the warnings that police recite to suspects during arrests and interrogations. But Tuesday’s majority said suspects must tell police they are going to remain quiet to stop an interrogation, just as they must tell police that they want a lawyer.

This decision means that police can keep shooting questions at a suspect who simply remains silent in hopes that the person will crack and give them some information, said Richard Friedman, a University of Michigan law professor.

“It’s a little bit less restraint that the officers have to show,” Friedman said.

The ruling comes in a case in which a suspect, Van Chester Thompkins, remained mostly silent for a three-hour police interrogation before implicating himself in a Jan. 10, 2000, murder in Southfield, Mich.

He appealed his conviction, saying he had invoked his Miranda right to remain silent by remaining silent.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati agreed and threw out the confession and conviction.

But Kennedy, writing the decision for the court’s conservatives, said that wasn’t enough.

“Thompkins did not say that he wanted to remain silent or that he did not want to talk to police,” Kennedy said. “Had he made either of these simple, unambiguous statements, he would have invoked his ‘right to cut off questioning.’“

He was joined in the 5-4 opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

Prosecutors cheered the decision, saying it takes the guesswork out of when police have to stop questioning suspects.

This is the third time this session that the Supreme Court has placed limits on Miranda rights, which come from a 1966 decision requiring officers to tell suspects they have the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer represent them, even if they can’t afford one.

Earlier this term, the high court ruled that a suspect’s request for a lawyer is good for only 14 days after the person is released from police custody — the first time the court has placed a time limit on a request for a lawyer — and that police do not have to explicitly tell suspects they have a right to a lawyer during an interrogation.

For Justice Sotomayor, deciding to make suspects speak to have the right to remain silent was a step too far. Her dissent said the majority’s decision “turns Miranda upside down.”

“Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent — which counterintuitively requires them to speak,” she said. “At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so. Those results are inconsistent with the fair-trial principles on which those precedents are grounded.”

She was joined in her dissent by Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.