Any criminal defense lawyer will tell you that one of the cornerstones of the American legal system is your right to remain silent when questioned by the police. However, cops are very skilled at shooting the breeze with folks and making loaded questions seem safe to answer. There's an art to not talking with the police, and here are four ways you can master it.
Know Your Rights
If the police are just poking around and asking questions, you have every right to not answer them. They might claim that they just need to talk and that you're not the subject of an investigation. However, the police are allowed to fib during investigations. Likewise, someone who isn't the subject of an investigation might become a suspect after the cops hear more info. Your best move is to keep your mouth shut and tell the police to move on.
When the cops detain someone, they have to read them their rights. That includes the right to remain silent. In other words, your best bet is to stay quiet.
Demand an Attorney
Another one of your rights is the right to have a criminal defense attorney present during questioning. Insist upon seeing a lawyer before you even consider talking to the cops. That applies even if you're sure you're innocent and you want to help. An attorney will help you determine what you should and shouldn't say to the police.
Keep Small Talk to a Minimum
A capable police investigator will use small talk to get your chatting. If you ask for some water while you wait for your lawyer to arrive, for example, a cop might use the request as a chance to loosen you up with a seemingly innocent conversation about food and drinks. They might also offer you better food and drinks in exchange for talking.
To the extent that you don't want to die from starvation or dehydration while the cops do these simple things they're legally required to do, it's fine to talk. Just keep the conversation short and sweet. Don't talk about the investigation or the allegations. Ask for some water and leave it at that.
If You Talk . . .
Even if you do talk with the police, it's your right to stop talking at any time. However, you should overtly state your right to remain silent before ending the conversation. Restate your right to remain silent repeatedly if necessary.
To learn more, contact a criminal defense lawyer.