The United States Constitution provides people in this country with specific rights. One of these is that you have the right to not speak to police officers beyond providing basic identifying information. The Fifth Amendment is where you can find information about your right to avoid making self-incriminating statements.
Anyone who’s watched crime dramas has probably seen when the police officers read an individual their rights. These are known as the Miranda rights and must be read in certain circumstances, such as prior to custodial interrogation. One of the most important reminders included is the right to remain silent.
Invoke your right to remain silent in order to use it
The best way to invoke your right to remain silent when you’re dealing with the police is to be proactive. In order to do this, you should specifically state that you won’t speak to the police without an attorney present.
Once you invoke your right against self-incrimination, the authorities must stop questioning you until you have counsel with your or you specifically revoke your rights again. Since the power lies in your hands (not the authorities) it’s very important to make sure that you don’t damage your own case by talking with the police – at all – after you invoke your rights.
Regardless of your situation, it’s better to stop communicating with the police. Most people aren’t in a position to think clearly about the ramifications of what they’re saying – or how they’re saying it – on their criminal cases down the road. Silence is your best initial defense, and cannot be held against you in court.
As always, a solid defense takes time, experience and knowledge. Take steps to protect your future immediately if you’ve been charged with a crime.