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Photo of attorney William Marcus Wilkerson
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Why is it wise to stay quiet when the police ask you questions?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

If a law enforcement officer arrests you they should explain your Miranda rights. One is that you have the right to remain silent and anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law. Yet they do not need to tell you this until they arrest you. That gives them plenty of time to ask questions and gain information beforehand.

It is typically better to stay quiet, rather than reply if an officer asks you questions. This applies both before and after an arrest. Tell them your name and address if they ask, otherwise, think very carefully about whether or not to speak.

It’s easy to say something that might incriminate you

The police ask questions for all sorts of reasons, but there is a good chance they believe you had something to do with a crime. They might have no evidence yet, but by asking questions they hope you will say something that gives them a lead.

Even if you did not commit any crime, answering police questions could help them decide you did. For instance, merely telling them you were at a particular shopping mall at a certain time might cause them to suspect you of the robbery committed there.

Tell the officers you will not be answering questions

If you ignore an officer’s attempts to question you, they will likely continue asking questions, perhaps saying something they think will provoke you into speaking. To stop the questioning, you must say you are exercising your right to remain silent. They are then obligated to stop.

You do not want to stay silent forever though. You’ll want to speak up to counter the allegations you face. With legal guidance, you can discover the best way and time to do so.