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Current Location: Skip Navigation LinksHome | Constitutional Rights | Remain Silent

Your Right to Remain Silent

Be Silent

You have the right to remain silent. This means that you do not have to talk to the police. Sometimes, police tell you that you do not have to talk. This is called reading you your rights or Miranda warnings because the police say that you have the right to remain silent and then they tell you what that means. But even if the police do not read you your rights, you do not have to talk to them.


It’s better if you do not talk to the police.


If you do not talk to police, the fact that you did not talk cannot be used against you in court. For example, the judge cannot find you guilty just because you did not talk to police. Also, the judge cannot give you extra consequences just because you did not talk to police.


Police can lie to you to try to get you to talk. For example, they can say that they have videotape or fingerprints that they do not really have. Also, police can tell you that someone else told them things, even if that is not true.


Police can say that they will not press charges if you talk. But police never press charges. The people who press charges are lawyers called county attorneys who prosecute cases in court. County attorneys can press charges even when police promise not to.


Talking to police will not lower the chances of going to jail. Usually, police have already decided about taking someone to jail before even trying to talk to him. In fact, there have been times when police were not going to take someone to jail, but after the person talked to police, the person ended up being taken to jail.


Talking to police is very risky. You might say something without knowing that it hurts you. For example, not knowing that something is against the law is not an excuse. Also, sometimes police record it when they talk to you, but sometimes they do not. Police write summaries of what you say, and they may leave out what is most important to you.


If you are thinking about talking to the police, talk privately with a lawyer first. If you cannot afford a lawyer, a lawyer will be given to you. This is because you have the right to have a lawyer. You have the right to have a lawyer with you if you decide to talk to police. You also have the right to have your parents with you.

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