You are under arrest. Hearing a police officer utter those words may feel like a death sentence. As the person under arrest, you are turned around, put into tight handcuffs, and placed in the back seat of a police cruiser. At that moment in time, you are in the most vulnerable situation in your life, and you might not even know it. You are thinking about how you are going to lose your job, your family, your house, your children, and your personal property. It will seem as if the roof of the cop car is caving in on your head and the doors are closing in. At that time, you will be thinking about your innocence and how this is all just a big misunderstanding. You’ll start to imagine what it will be like to spend the night in jail with those nasty guards and violent criminals in that loud, cold, and bright environment, eating three squares a day. All you’ll want at that moment is a friend. Ironically enough, that same police officer that just arrested you, now makes you believe you can trust him. 

The police officer starts driving to the police station and begins to ask you a few questions. At first, the questions don’t seem that unusual. Things like – do you live around here? How many children do you have? The officer might say something like, man do I hate Trump, that guy is such a moron. Maybe the officer jumps right into a few questions that pull at your heartstrings, saying something like, “how could such a nice person like you, get involved into something like this?” At this moment, your brain is playing a tug of war between whether to answer the police officer’s questions or wait until you speak with your attorney. Remember, always keep your mouth shut. This is a crucial moment. This moment in time will determine whether your case has several open doors or few. Although at the time, the officer will convince you that your cooperation will get you home early, in reality, you will be going to jail and spending the night. Remember that your silence will help your case. The Constitution gives you the right against self-incrimination. This means that your silence cannot be used against you. You are going to feel rude ignoring the officer, however, you will feel much worse when that police officer uses those same statements against you as evidence.

Officers are trained to extract information. Always remember, police officers are not counselors or psychiatrists, they are master interrogators. A police officer’s sole purpose is to build a case against you and put you behind bars. You don’t owe the officer a statement and you certainly don’t need to make their job any easier. The police will be the only party that gains from you telling your side of the story. Police officers do not care about what is going on in your life. The only reason an officer asks you questions is: (1) to gather more evidence; and/or (2) to determine if you actually committed the crime. Want to know how to help your own case? KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Every person wants to tell their side of the story. Every person has a different version of what they believe is the truth. The ONLY person that deserves to hear your side of the story or your version of the truth is your attorney.

WHY SHOULD YOU KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT? – It’s simple. Police officers have to be perfect at their job 100% of the time. Have you ever been unproductive at your job when you’ve been up taking care of a screaming newborn all night? Or what about when you are tired from being up all night working the night shift? Or maybe you have been exhausted from fighting a bad cold? If you answered yes, don’t worry, that makes you human. A lot of people make mistakes at their job. Police officers make mistakes all the time. Common mistakes made by a police officer might be the failure to identify the reason for pulling a vehicle over or failure to secure probable cause before searching a person’s home or vehicle. The court determines if the police officer correctly does their job, not the officer. Therefore, just because you are arrested, does not mean the officer has appropriately done their job or that you are automatically guilty of a crime. By keeping your mouth shut, the officer’s only evidence is what the officer has collected. By keeping your mouth shut, you force the police officer to do their job properly. The more you talk, the more you can lose.

During your arrest, it might seem enticing to speak with your arresting officer to avoid spending a night in jail. But, do you know what is worse than spending one night in jail? Knowing that you had the power to prevent future nights in jail. If you are arrested, always remember: (1) remain calm; (2) keep your mouth shut; (3) call Russell B. McCormick at (904) 353-0436.

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