We all have our favorite television crime drama and we’ve all heard these words:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. you have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning.”
This is to be taken extremely seriously as a seemingly innocent exchange with a police officer, investigator or prosecutor can quickly leave you facing damaging criminal charges.
We hope you never need to worry about these rights and how to respond to police inquiries but, if you pay attention to these tips, you will know what to do to protect your rights.
1 Rule: Keep Your Mouth Shut!
The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. The burden of proof is on the prosecution and police officers have the burden of gathering evidence that a crime was committed.
You are under no obligation to do their jobs for them or be helpful in any way. The moments and days after allegations of a crime is the time for you to be silent and allow your attorney to focus on your defense.
Even if the police are wrong?
Yes, even if the police are wrong. Arguing the merits of your case does you no good and can only do your case harm. No one has ever had charges dropped or been acquitted of criminal by arguing with the police. However, many people have dug an unnecessary hole for themselves due to an insatiable need to be right or prove their innocence.
Even if the police officer say they can help?
Yes. The police are under no obligation to keep their word, which means they can promise whatever they want to get you talking. This is all the more reason to keep your mouth shut in the presence of law enforcement.
I’m sorry. I just need to talk to somebody about this.
You’re right. You do need to talk to someone if you have been accused, charged or have reason to believe you are under investigation. You need to speak to a proven criminal defense lawyer.
Until then, you have the right to remain silent. Use it!