One of the most important rights we have in this country is our Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. This Amendment exists to protect citizens from incriminating themselves when they are questioned by law enforcement officers. Regardless of the situation a person may find themselves in, it is crucial to remember this right and to exercise it appropriately.
If you are ever stopped by law enforcement, you should ask the officer whether you are being detained and if you are free to go. If they say “no” or continue to ask you questions, you should infer that you are being treated as a suspect and proceed to invoke your right to remain silent. You can do this by politely informing the officer that you do not wish to answer questions and/or stating that you wish to speak with an attorney. This simple act can make all the difference in your case!
Here’s why you shouldn’t talk to law enforcement:
- Whatever you say can be used against you in a criminal case. Law enforcement wants you to say something incriminating that they can use to support their own case. They may attempt to get a confession out of you by misleading you, or may honestly just misinterpret what you say. Either can have disastrous consequences.
- You can’t talk your way out of an arrest. Most of the time, people talk to the police because they think it will help them avoid being arrested, but this is not true. An officer will make an arrest no matter what a person says if they have probable cause. Furthermore, don’t make the mistake of assuming that police will cut you a deal, because they do not have the ability to do so.
- Play it safe. Regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent, staying silent is always the best policy. Those who believe they are innocent should avoid saying something that could be taken as potentially incriminating. Those who may be guilty should not admit guilt, as there are other circumstances of the case that they may not be aware of.
All too frequently, suspects don’t take advantage of this right and end up inadvertently harming their case and their defense. Remaining silent can decrease the amount of obstacles present in a case and better allow an attorney to implement an effective defense strategy.
If you are being accused of a crime, remember to assert your right not to talk to police and immediately contact a Polk County criminal defense lawyer at Boswell & Dunlap, LLP. Trusted since 1900, we are the oldest and most respected firm in Polk County and have decades of experience protecting the rights of the accused. Whether you are facing charges for a misdemeanor or a serious felony, no case is too complex for us to handle.
Request a free consultation with a member of our team by calling (863) 533-7117.