You know that if you are detained and questioned by the police, you have the legal right to remain silent, but having the confidence and/or know-how to invoke this right can be more complicated. Learning more about this foundational constitutional right can help, but if you are facing a criminal charge, it is time to consult with an experienced Harker Heights criminal defense lawyer.
Understanding Your Right to Remain Silent
You – and everyone else – has the right to remain silent when detained and questioned by the police for a variety of important reasons. One of these is that the police officer who is questioning you is skilled at coaxing information and confessions out of interviewees – some of whom are not even remotely guilty of the charge at hand. This is a difficult phenomenon to understand, but it is more common than you probably realize. Sometimes, sheer exhaustion alone pushes those accused to confess – in an effort to make the questioning end. In other words, being questioned by the police puts you in a very vulnerable position, and it is a good idea to simply make it your policy not to speak without an attorney present. Invoking your right to remain silent is not an admission of guilt; it simply speaks to your determination to protect your own rights.
In order to invoke your right to silence, it is important to – ironically – speak up. While simply remaining silent can ensure that you do not incriminate yourself, it is unlikely to stop the officer from peppering you with questions, and the stress involved can cause you to crack unexpectedly. You do not have to use fancy language or even an insistent tone – all you should have to do to stop the interview is to tell the officers that you are not going to answer any questions. Further, simply telling the officer that you want an attorney should shut him or her down, but the best course of action includes all the following:
Telling the officer that you are invoking your right to remain silent
Telling the officer that you want your attorney present
Remaining silent until your attorney arrives
Mean What You Say
It is all well and good to say that you are going to remain silent and that you want an attorney, but if you proceed to talk of your own accord, you can cause yourself a considerable amount of trouble. Once you invoke your right to remain silent, the police are required to stop asking you questions, but they are not required to be deaf to anything you decide to say after the fact. Saying you are going to remain silent and doing so are two very different things, and it is critical that you do both.
Call an Experienced Harker Heights Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Harker Heights, Texas, has the legal experience you are looking for and is standing by to help. For more information, please reach out and contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.