When the police arrest you or decide to question you after your arrest, they will likely inform you of your Miranda Rights. Those rights include the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation.
Too many people ignore their right to remain silent and end up hurting their legal position. Understanding your rights before you endure an arrest will make it easier for you to stand up for yourself while in the custody of the police and avoid making a mistake that could have lifelong consequences.
Anything you say could hurt your case
Your right to remain silent is part of your right against compulsory testimony that would hurt your legal case under the Fifth Amendment. The police cannot force you to speak to them, even after your arrest.
Those already in state custody might think that cooperating with the police will help their case, but they might just incriminate themselves. Police officers will ask leading questions that seem innocent. The way that you answer could make you look guilty or even help the police establish a motive for the crime. They might also ask you the same sorts of questions over and over so that you eventually contradict yourself. They do this to make you look unreliable or like a liar.
When the police advise you of your right to remain silent or begin to question you after an arrest, asserting your right to an attorney can help you avoid making a mistake that could contribute to your conviction.
A lawyer can help when talking to the police
If there is a missing person or an unsolved violent crime, obviously you want to help the police solve the matter as quickly as possible. You can cooperate with them and answer their questions to help with their investigation and with your elimination as a suspect. Doing that alone, however, could have the opposite effect by making you look guilty and taking resources away from finding the real culprit.
Having a lawyer present while you answer questions will help ensure that you don’t fall victim to police manipulations or say something that could have repercussions for you later. Someone advocating for you can help you avoid leading questions or speaking in a way that inadvertently implicates you.
Having the right supports when you find yourself accused of a serious offense, like a violent crime, can help you defend your reputation and your freedom.