You can probably recite the Miranda warning from memory. After all, in virtually all television police dramas, someone advises a criminal suspect of his or her rights to remain silent and to have an attorney present for police questioning.
While knowing your Miranda rights is part of the battle, your rights do you little good if you cannot invoke them. Therefore, if you think officers may detain and question you, you should give some advance thought to asserting your legal rights.
The intimidation factor
Most police officers receive comprehensive training on interviewing criminal suspects. One approach, the Reid interrogation technique, uses intimidation to secure information. If you do not have much experience interacting with law enforcement, this tactic may induce you into incriminating yourself. To reduce your legal exposure, you are probably better off saying nothing at all.
A proven strategy
You do not want to leave your legal rights to chance. If you do not wish to respond to police questioning, you must make your intentions known in a clear and unambiguous way. Practicing saying, “I am invoking my right to remain silent,” is a good strategy. If you simply try to stay quiet, officers may continue to question you. Eventually, you may wear down and make a potentially incriminating statement.
If you are in police custody, you probably have a right to legal counsel. You should strongly consider invoking this right either along with or independently from your right to remain silent.
A lawyer can help you understand the criminal process and your legal options. He or she may also intervene if officers ask an inappropriate question. Furthermore, when you request an attorney, officers should stop questioning you until one is available to offer assistance.
Depending on the reason officers want to question you, you may be vulnerable to significant legal consequences. Practicing invoking your Miranda rights counsel before entering an interrogation room, may be critical.