When you’re charged with a crime or called in for questioning, you may think that cooperating with the police will help your case. Yet, speaking with honesty could increase your risk of far greater legal troubles. Holding your tongue has its benefits, at least with law enforcement officials.

If there’s anyone worth consulting in this case, it’s an attorney. Here are the reasons why you should do so.

An attorney will keep you from incriminating yourself

Without an attorney, you have ways to avoid incriminating yourself. Invoking the Fifth Amendment – which gives you the right to remain silent – may anger officers, but it is within your legal right to do so. Once your attorney enters the picture, though, they can speak for you. Your attorney can reject any question from law enforcement that might be used against you. And with an attorney, you may feel more comfortable standing up to the police, since officers are unlikely to intimidate you with them around.

An attorney is on your side

The police are supposed to have the community’s best interests in mind. But that doesn’t mean that they will act in such a manner – or consider your interests. An attorney is there to represent you and argue on your behalf. By cooperating with the police, you may find that information you thought would help them out could harm you. Sharing this information with an attorney poses no risk. And they can help you determine what to say to law enforcement officials, if you choose to speak with them.