Is it better or worse to remain silent?

The first police officer phrase to come to your mind is probably, “You have the right to remain silent.” But, in reality, should that right really be taken?

If you find yourself being arrested, you’ll probably be inclined to explain your side of the story. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t.

Anything you say can and will be used against you

Police should make you aware that your answers and behavior during questioning can be used against you. Think back on whether you’ve ever said anything you didn’t mean while you were upset, anxious or under pressure in the past.

If so, it’s easy to see why choosing a lawyer to speak on your behalf removes the possibility of giving an emotionally-charged response. Otherwise, neglecting how you phrase your answer could lead the court to misunderstand your intentions.

Choosing silence stops an interrogation

If you explicitly tell the authorities that you want to remain silent, use the assistance of a lawyer or stop talking with the police, the authorities must end interrogation efforts. This may help you collect any nerves or anxiety lingering from the arrest.

However, it is important that you say you’d like to remain silent. In a 2010 homicide case, a suspect remained mostly silent during an interrogation following his arrest. However, because he did not say that he wanted to remain silent, the court found that the interrogation was valid and so were the few answers the man gave.

You may have violated a law you weren’t aware of

Answering police questioning without legal counsel could easily cause you to admit violating a law you weren’t aware of.

For example, if you are arrested on drug charges and you admit to having been near a high school, playground, public swimming pool or another “drug-free zone,” you may face heightened penalties – even if you weren’t aware you were in a drug-free zone.

If you are arrested on criminal charges, use your phone call to contact a lawyer that can help. The Maddox Law Firm can work with you to ensure that your side of the story is heard clearly and accurately.

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