“You have the right to remain silent” — USE IT!
I often tell friends and potential clients that the only “free” legal advice I ever give out is that if you are ever arrested or questioned by law enforcement, keep your mouth shut. Nothing good can come from making a statement. If you are already under arrest, you aren’t going to “talk your way out of it,” and if you aren’t, it’s not your responsibility to assist law enforcement in building a case against you.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of undergoing police questioning, there are some things to remember:
1. Be polite but be firm. Interrogators might become angry with you if you don’t talk to them… this just means that they need you to incriminate yourself to make (or bolster) their case.
2. Don’t necessarily believe what they tell you. Case law allows interrogating police officers to flat-out lie to suspects in order to get them to talk. Don’t fall for this cheap tactic.
3. Always ask for a lawyer. These magic words “I want a lawyer present before I say anything” can save you a lot of trouble. If you say this, the law requires the police to cease all questioning and give you an opportunity to speak with a lawyer before resuming questioning.
Hopefully this will assist if you ever find yourself in that situation.