If you have the unfortunate experience of being questioned by the police or being placed under arrest there is one thing above all others that you should remember. KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. A judge I am in front of regularly and was a prosecutor before would routinely ask defendants, “Do you know how the fish got caught? He opened his mouth. Now be quiet.” It sounds simple enough but for most people, under such a stressful situation as being arrested, the natural instinct is to try to explain and over-explain.
If you are being questioned by the police, know you have the right to an attorney before answering any questions. “I want my attorney present before answering questions” carry the weight of almost being magic words. This is because, after your invoke your right to an attorney to the police, if the police ask you questions and you answer, those answers may not be used against you. So, if you are being questioned by the police and your options are to talk and being silent, pick being silent.
But while to have the right to remain silent, some of my clients do not have the ability to remain silent. I advise my clients to also keep their mouths shut include:
- Facebook and online social media – Privacy settings do not mean a thing if one of your “friends” decides to share your information with someone else.
- Do not discuss your case on the jailhouse phone. Believe it or not, your calls are being recorded.
- Do not discuss your case with other inmates to pass the time.
- Do not discuss your case of how you were wrongly accused with your friends.
- Understand that you are being recorded in the police car so when the officer is being friendly and tells you “I wanted to let you go but the Sergeant was here” do not explain to him how you ended up in the back of a police car.
Discussions with your lawyer are privileged conversations and are protected by the law. Your conversations with your lawyer cannot be used against you.
Overall remember to: Be quiet, Call an attorney and do not discuss your case with anyone else aside from your attorney.
If you or a loved on has been arrested in Illinois, call Attorney Purav Bhatt at 773-791-9682 to discuss your case.