When the police approach you during a criminal investigation, it can be tempting to talk to them. After all, you probably want to try to explain the situation so that you can effectively deflect any suspicions. However, in most instances the best first step that you can make in your criminal case is remaining silent. If you don’t know how to exercise your rights in that regard, then you could end up putting yourself at risk.
Your right to remain silent
Under the U.S. Constitution, you have a right to be free from self-incrimination. This means that you can’t be forced to testify against yourself, and that you don’t have to give a statement to the police. If law enforcement officers inform you otherwise, then you should push back and consult with an attorney before saying anything.
Your Miranda rights
On top of your protections against self-incrimination, the police should inform you of your right to remain silent when you’re subjected to custodial interrogation. This basically means that the police are holding you for questioning and you’re therefore unable to leave. If you’re unsure if you’re under custodial interrogation, then simply ask if you can leave.
If the police don’t read you your Miranda rights, then any incriminating statements that you make may be barred from being used against you at trial. This can be a huge blow to the prosecution’s case.
To protect your interests, including your freedom, as much as possible, it’s imperative that you know how to craft a compelling legal defense. This means having a firm grasp on applicable laws and using them to your advantage. If you’re able to do that, then you might be able to obtain dismissed charges or an acquittal, thereby allowing you to get back to your normal life.