“You have the right to remain silent”
SILENT! Why? You cannot
be forced to divulge information to the police. Forget what you have seen on TV, what your parents have
told you about cooperating with the police, or what friends might tell you about their past encounters with the police. Every
situation is different, but your Constitutional Rights remain the same.
right stems from the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In other words, you are not required
to assist the police in proving the charge against you. The police are responsible for developing
the evidence to prove that you have in fact committed a crime. The right to remain silent was confirmed
in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona. If you attempted to remain silent in the face of police questioning,
and were coerced or forced into speaking, your rights may have been violated.
“Anything you do say may
be used against you in a court of law”
So, unless you want to hear your own words used against you in court,
remain silent. There is absolutely nothing you can say to a police officer that will improve your situation, but there are
many things that you can say that can make your situation much worse.
"You have a right to an attorney.”
If you are arrested, or are being questioned in connection with a criminal event, You need
an attorney and the Sixth Amendment guarantees you one. The officer will tell you that you have the right to
have an attorney present during any questioning. By invoking these rights and telling the officer that you will not answer
any questions without an attorney present, all questioning by law enforcement must cease.
Any officer, who violates your rights after you have invoked them, jeopardizes whatever case the police might have had against
you. That is the strength and power of the Constitution working for you.
Now that you know your rights, remember to use them.