An arrest with pending criminal charges can have far-reaching effects on your life. No matter what charge you face, understand the facts about your rights in custody. Understanding and exercising your rights can help you protect yourself in the face of these charges.
Your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney are more connected than you might think.
Your right to an attorney
The first thing to consider after an arrest for a crime is your right to an attorney. As soon as you are in custody, tell the officers in question that you want to speak to your attorney. If they continue asking questions, repeat the statement that you want to talk to your attorney.
Say nothing more than that statement until you have the opportunity to discuss the charges with your lawyer. Follow your lawyer’s guidance thereafter whether you answer any questions or not.
Your right to remain silent
In many cases, your attorney will tell you to say nothing at all until they arrive. Tell the officers that you are exercising your right to remain silent under your attorney’s recommendation.
You can also exercise your right to remain silent immediately upon your arrest. Tell the officers that you are exercising your right to remain silent and then say absolutely nothing else afterward. Anything else you say might waive your right to silence.
Understand your rights before you need them so that you can protect yourself. The better prepared you are, the easier any potential interrogation is.