Everyone has the right to remain silent when they are arrested or charged with a crime. Unfortunately, as comedians like to joke, a person may have the right to remain silent but may lack the ability to do so. Usually, though, it’s not the client’s fault that they did not remain silent. It is a perfectly normal reaction to want to explain yourself when you have been accused of something that you did not do. But while you may feel compelled to explain your side of things, be careful—this is when the situation will go downhill very quickly.
From the moment that a person is arrested, law enforcement is gathering evidence or information to use against that person. We’ve all heard the classic Miranda warning. A person has a right to remain silent, but anything that they do say can and will be used against them in a court of law. The key word in that warning is will. Law enforcement, specifically investigators, will try to talk to the client because they know that each client has that natural urge to explain things to get out of trouble. They’ll even try to have you sign a waiver of your rights by saying that it’s just a standard form that allows them to talk to you. Don’t fall for it.
From the moment a person is arrested or accused of a crime, that person needs to stay silent. Why give law enforcement anything, if they’re just going to turn around and use it against you? Even if you have the clearest explanation as to why you didn’t commit a crime, why would you tell that to law enforcement, when all that they’re going to do is try to make you look like a liar? Hopefully not.
Instead, if you are going to say anything, tell law enforcement that you don’t want to talk to them, and instead, you want to talk to your lawyer. Better yet, tell them that anything that they have to say must go through your lawyer. Never sign anything that they give you without your lawyer first reviewing it and advising you. While law enforcement may get angry at you for exercising your constitutional rights, they MUST respect your request, otherwise, they run the risk of ruining their case against you.
Remember that if you are being accused of a crime, law enforcement’s goal is to gather as much information against you as possible. That is their job, and oftentimes, they know exactly what to say and how to say it to get information out of someone. While they may even try to use your silence against you, silence is one of the greatest tools that you can use against them. But, like any tool, it’s only useful if you know how to use it. Regardless, you should never try to outsmart law enforcement, and put yourself in a position where they can come back and use what you’ve said against you. Instead, get your lawyer involved, and get them involved as early as possible.