You Have the Right to Remain Silent….
Let’s say you get a call from the police asking you to come down to the station to answer a few questions. The officer on the phone politely tells you that you’ve been accused of some conduct. He suggests that answering a few questions might clear the whole thing up. What do you do?
1) Get off the phone quickly and politely.
2) Call a criminal attorney who will tell you not to answer any questions.
3) Do not respond to any further communications from the police.
At this point, the police will either need to build a case against you without your help, or they will have to let the matter drop. If they find enough evidence to file a charge against you, you may be arrested and/or charged with a crime. If they do not, the matter will go no further.
Under no circumstances do you want to help the police. Why? Because the job of the police in this instance is to build a case against you. Watch The Closer. See how often Brenda Lee Johnson gets a confession? See how subtle her tricks are? Even if you are completely innocent, you could give an answer that corroborates the other side’s story or that makes you look guilty in some way.
On Law and Order, we see the suspect and his attorney sitting across from the police officers, and the suspect answers questions until the police officer asks one that the attorney thinks might be prejudicial. In reality, it doesn’t work that way. Your attorney will always tell you to invoke your right to remain silent.
So, what if the police officer comes to pick you up for questioning?
1) Ask if you are free to go.
2) If the answer is yes, go.
3) If the answer is no, call your attorney and remain silent.
At this point, if the police have enough to pick you up for custodial interrogation, there may be enough evidence to charge you.
You might be arrested and charged with a crime. That’s why it’s so important to have an attorney at this point. If you do not have enough money to hire a private attorney, the Court will appoint one. The Court appointed attorney will give you the same advice as a private attorney: Remain silent.
At some point, there may be some advantage to answering questions. For example, you may be offered some kind of plea bargain or some other favorable disposition in exchange for testimony. Your lawyer will advise you to speak at the appropriate time if this is the case.
In the meantime, please remain silent except to call your attorney.
p.s. Do not talk to your friends, coworkers or family about the matter either. What you tell them can also be used against you in a court of law.