When you’re arrested it can feel like you are in the twilight zone – you feel helpless and out of control over the situation. However the is some good news that will help you regain control and potentially help your case by immediately asserting your constitutional rights to be silent and to speak with an attorney.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects your right to remain silent (that is, your right not to incriminate yourself). The Sixth Amendment guarantees your right to an attorney.
Silence or being quiet for a long time – is not enough to invoke your right to remain silent. You must speak up and make it clear to the police that (a) you are not going to speak to the officers, and (b) you want a lawyer. Say, for example:
– I wish to remain silent.
– I will not answer any questions.
– I want to speak to a lawyer.
Once you have invoked your rights, stop talking. Your choice to remain silent cannot be used against you at trial, but any statements you make can be. Even “self-serving” statements almost always will hurt you at trial. Seemingly innocent information volunteered to police is often used a defendant at trial.
Nothing about a police investigation where you are the target is being done in your favor. Often times when you talk to the police you are making the case for them.