We all understand the need for good law enforcement. But we also should understand our own rights and responsibilities when we interact with the police. Of interest today is a person’s right to remain silent. Remember, what you say to the police (or anyone, for that matter) can and will be used against you in court. It’s not a crime to politely refuse to answer a police officer’s questions although it’s a crime to mis-identify yourself or fail to produce proof of your identity when required by law. Consequently, if you’ve been breaking the law do not tell the police anything except your name, address, and correct date of birth. Do not give any explanations, excuses, or stories. You can assert your defense later with the help of your criminal defense attorney. Furthermore, do not talk about the facts of your case over the telephone at the police station or jail. These conversations are regularly recorded. Lastly, do not say anything or make any decisions until you have consulted with your lawyer. Your right to remain silent is one embodied in our constitutional Bill of Rights.
Stephen Gustitis is a criminal defense lawyer in Bryan-College Station. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also a husband, father, and retired amateur bicycle racer.