Your Right to Remain Silent
ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU. It doesn’t matter if you are talking to the police, talking to a friend, talking to your cellmate or talking to a Judge, if you talk about your case, those statements can and will be used as evidence against you. There are very few exceptions outside of your lawyer. Some exceptions include your minister and sometimes your counselor, but when in doubt, don’t say anything about the case to anyone but your lawyer.
You have the right not to talk to the police or to anyone about a crime that they are investigating. This is important because anything that you say can, and probably will, be used as evidence against you later in court. Police officers are specially trained in how to question people. They have learned how to interrogate people and get them to say things that are incriminating. Sometimes they are so good at what they do, that people falsely confess to things they didn’t actually do!
There are times when it makes sense to talk to the police, particularly if you are innocent, but have information about the case that would clear your name or help the police identify the guilty person. If you think you want to talk to the police, you should ALWAYS talk to a lawyer first and get their advice. If possible, you should also take your lawyer with you to the meeting.
By the way, this right to remain silent, is still in place even if you decide to take your case to a trial. No one can force you to testify at your trial, or punish you just because you don’t testify. The judge or the jury isn’t allowed to find you guilty just because you don’t testify, and they can’t ask why you didn’t testify. If you choose to have a trial by jury, the jury at your trial will be told that it’s your right not to testify, and that there are reasons why an innocent person would choose to remain silent even at trial.