Being stopped by the police is a nerve-wracking experience, but it’s still one time when you really need to ensure that you’re thinking clearly. One thing that you should always do is remember that you have specific rights that you can invoke.
The United States Constitution provides specific protections for individuals. The Fifth Amendment is one of these. Two of the rights provided by the Fifth Amendment are commonly called the “Miranda” rights, after the court case that redefined how the police interact with suspects.
Your Miranda rights are the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney with you when you’re detained and questioned by the police.
If you are arrested, you can (and should) clearly state that you want to invoke your right to remain silent. Once you do that, the officers have to stop questioning you. Affirmatively invoking your right against self-incrimination and asking for an attorney eliminates ambiguity and potential “gray” areas that could allow the police to keep pressing you for information.
Some people think that they have to wait for the officers to read them their rights before they can invoke their Miranda rights. This isn’t the case. You can invoke your Miranda rights as soon as you find out that you’re being arrested.
Anyone who’s arrested should learn about their defense strategy options. It’s possible that a violation of their rights could be included in this. Evaluating the options soon after the arrest gives them time to determine what’s in their best interests. Starting quickly may also mean that there are options open that won’t be available further down the line.