If I’m arrested, how do I enforce my rights and protect myself?
Whether rightfully or wrongfully, you’ve still been arrested. It’s important to remember that fact. The police will try to get you to make incriminating statements which will later be used against you. If the police intend to question you, they must read you your Miranda Rights first. You will hear that “You have the Right to Remain Silent.” USE IT! Make no statements about yourself or your case to anyone. Do not make any statements to the police and do not make any statements to any cellmate.
At the end of your Miranda warnings, the police will ask you, “Having these rights in mind, do you wish to talk to me now?” Your answer must always be “No. I want to talk to my attorney.” With that, all questioning must stop and the pressure is lifted from you. If you are presented with a written form to initial and sign regarding your Miranda Rights, in the space for the answer to the question above, write “No. Attorney only.”
This is the best and most immediate way to protect yourself and enforce your rights. The police will not ask you anything that they don’t think is important for them to help them with their case against you. They are NOT your friend. They are NOT on your side. They are NOT trying to help you. NOTHING you say will help your situation. NEVER try to play mind games, word games, or to outsmart the police. You are in custody, possibly for the first time in your life, you’re scared, your mind is racing, you are thinking about dozens of different thoughts all at the same time. The cops are pressuring you to talk and you are at a severe disadvantage. The police want you to talk for a reason. They know that anything you say is going to benefit them. And even if you were to say something that you think can only be interpreted as good for you, they will find a way to twist it all around, take it out of context and still use it against you.
Bottom line: Keep Your Mouth Shut! Ask for your Attorney …. then Clam Up!