If you find yourself involved in a suspicious criminal activity, an officer may ask you specific questions. Though you are innocent, when individuals commit crimes, it is the duty of a police officer to locate the criminal responsible. When no clear suspects present themselves, your answers to questions may criminalize your innocent behavior.
It is essential, when police question you, interrogate you or arrest you, that you speak to an attorney before giving any information to officers. Especially if you show innocence, you want to ensure that nothing you said prior to your charge presents itself in court as evidence. Experienced attorneys have the ability to advise you on how to proceed and potentially protect you from criminal convictions in court.
Your right in avoiding an officer's questions
The beginning of the Miranda rights reads, "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."
The Fifth Amendment protection that these rights imply allows you to legally avoid speaking to officers upon your charge. Because the United States finds you innocent until proven guilty, officers cannot force you to answer specific questions about your charge without a warrant.
Politely remaining silent
Though some believe that exercising your right to silence makes a criminal situation tense and implies that you have something to hide, officer witnesses may not use your silence against you in court to imply your guilt.
If an officer asks questions upon your arrest, and you do not wish to answer, try saying:
- "I would like to exercise my right to remain silent."
- "I would like to speak with an attorney before I answer any questions."
- "I do not want my words to be taken out of context, so I do not wish to speak with officers."
Even if a court finds you guilty of a crime, speaking with an experienced attorney beforehand may save you charges and jail time. Defense attorneys use expertise and circumstantial evidence to defend your actions. If you already spoke to police and implicated yourself, you may have a more difficult time of being proven innocent.
Even if you are not guilty of a crime, it is essential to speak with an attorney before talking to the police.