Can You Remain Silent?
Yes. In the US, you have a constitutional right to remain silent. You do not have to give an explanation of why you are not speaking, simply say “I want to remain silent.” You are required to give your name to the officer; however, any explanation or story beyond that is not required. Furthermore, if you do remain silent, the police cannot punish you for doing so. With rare exceptions, the only person that can force you to answer questions is a judge. Given this right, it is best to speak with your lawyer before talking to the police. While you might feel intimidated to answer questions, you have the right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer.
Other Do’s And Don’ts
If a police officer stops you in the street to ask you questions, you still don’t have to answer any; your right to remain silent still applies. If you do speak with the officers, do not disrespect them and/or lie in any way. Furthermore, do not attempt to bribe an officer, or physically resist a search. While they can search you regardless, you can still make a point of saying “I do not consent to a search.” If you are at a police station and have requested to remain silent, remember that any phone calls (except to ones to your lawyer) can be recorded. Only speak about your case with your lawyer, and not with anyone else unless instructed to do so by your lawyer.
Being stopped, detained, or arrested can be a stressful time for people. In those moments of confusion and stress, people forget that they do not have to explain their actions. Remain silent and allow for your lawyer to protect your rights.