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Silence is golden.

Three Reasons to Use Your Right to Remain Silent

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Whether you are a witness or are suspected of a crime, always exercise caution when speaking to the police.  Following are three reasons to use your right to remain silent.

1.  Words are often misunderstood.  Have you ever been in an argument with someone who simply cannot (or will not) understand your point of view? (Think: husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, children, siblings, in-laws, bosses.)  And then there is the occasional misunderstanding – when two people (or more) have entirely different recollections about what was discussed.  Now, imagine your very freedom is at stake based upon your ability to communicate.

2.  People hear what they want to hear.  There are two types of police investigation.  One is where the officer is truly trying to learn what took place.  The second is where the officer has already decided what has occurred, and is simply try to confirm what he or she already believes – thus disregarding any information that does not confirm the existing belief.  In this case, your words can be misunderstood, twisted, or rearranged.

3.  You may not get credit.  Often, it seems that simply talking to a police officer to clarify a misunderstanding, to be helpful, or to protest your innocence seems to be the most efficient route to get out of a pickle.  However, without an attorney present, any assistance you provide may be devalued or disregarded by law enforcement.

These are just three reasons among many that illustrate why exercising your right to remain silent is wise.  This is one arena in which it is not necessary — and often unwise — to “get the last word.”  Allowing your attorney to speak on your behalf can level the playing field and protect you from incriminating yourself.

During the past twenty years practicing law, I’ve helped to clarify many misunderstandings.  I’ve written about examples of my experiences with clients and when it may be appropriate to talk to the police in a recent blog post.   Please contact me if you need help clarifying a misunderstanding you’ve had with law enforcement.

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