One of the most common questions people have after an arrest is whether they have an obligation to talk to the police. Interrogations can feel intimidating, and you might inadvertently say something you did not intend to.
You should understand your obligations and rights associated with talking to the police before you find yourself in custody.
Do you have to talk to the police?
You do not have to talk to the police for any reason after an arrest. You can opt to remain silent instead of answering any questions.
Why should you remain silent?
Anything you say to the police during an arrest can become evidence against you in court. Remaining silent is a valuable precaution to protect yourself from self-incrimination and prevents you from potentially providing evidence that can harm your defense.
How do you exercise your right to silence?
While in police custody, you can respectfully say that you choose to remain silent or do not wish to answer questions. Once you do so, remember that anything you say afterward could appear as waiving that right.
Can the police continue questioning you?
Sometimes law enforcement persists with questioning after you invoke your right to remain silent. Stay calm and reiterate your choice to remain silent, but avoid arguments or making any further statements.
According to the FBI, law enforcement across the country made more than 10 million arrests in 2019. With such an active approach to law enforcement, everyone should understand their legal rights in custody. The more you know about your right to remain silent, the easier it is to protect yourself.