If officers suspect you may have committed a crime, they are likely to interview you. Before doing so, however, they typically must advise you of your Miranda rights. These include both your right to remain silent and your right to legal counsel during material parts of the criminal process.
Researchers estimate as many as 4% of incarcerated inmates did not commit the crimes for which they are serving sentences. Regrettably, many of these individuals likely confessed during police interrogations.
Planning for your arrest
Police officers understand both how to elicit incriminating information and how to secure confessions, so you are at an immediate disadvantage when you walk into the interrogation room. If you think officers may question you in connection with a crime, you may want to practice asserting your right to remain silent.
Using the right language
While the U.S. Constitution does not require magic words, you should leave no doubt about your intentions. Specifically, you should tell officers you are invoking your right to remain silent. After doing so, you must not make any further statements. After all, prosecutors may use your voluntary words against you.
Asking for a lawyer
Because the criminal justice system can be incredibly complex, the U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to an attorney. Asking for a lawyer has the same effect as invoking your right to remain silent. That is, when you request legal counsel, officers should stop questioning you until you have had an opportunity to meet with a lawyer.
While you may think cooperating with officers is in your legal interests, you do not want to say something to make matters worse. Ultimately, invoking your right to remain silent may be the most effective way to level the playing field during your interrogation.