The Fifth Amendment gives us all the right to remain silent. Let's use it. All the time. Please. Even if you are innocent, use it. Even if it's just a traffic violation, use it.
Here is a non-exclusive list of some things you may not know about police interrogations which should be reason enough to exercise your right to remain silent:
- the police can lie to you...and often will in order to get you to confess (they can tell you they have it all on tape when in actuality they don't, for instance)
- the police are trained in psychological interrogation techniques designed to elicit confessions (the Reid Technique)
- the police only want to talk to you because they already, at the very least, suspect you're involved in the crime in some way
- you are being audio and video taped...even if you don't see the camera
- the police don't have to give you Miranda warnings if you are not in custody and not being interrogated - that means if you go to the police department on your own thinking you are doing the right thing you will not be warned about your constitutional protections prior to police questioning
- the police don't have to tell you what they know...and usually won't
- the police know how to manipulate what you say - you will not outsmart the police (you are not Dexter)
- the police are getting paid to question you therefore they have no motivation to end the questioning - you, on the other hand, will want to leave as quickly as you can
- their goal is to get a confession even if it's not for the original offense they started questioning you about
- you will not be able to lie and get away with it
- you will not be able to talk your way out of an arrest
So, what do you do? Knowledge is power. Know your rights. There is a way to politely and intelligently deal with the police. Always be polite, but always be firm when speaking with the police. For instance, "yes, I will talk to you if I can have my lawyer here"; "no, you cannot search my car"; "no, you cannot come into my house", etc.
You can expect to be verbally bullied when you give this response, but stick to your guns. Be firm. Seasoned, intelligent police officers will be disappointed in this response but they will understand it and won't be offended by it. After all, they know their role, and they know your constitutional rights. You might as well know your rights too, and exercise them!