You already know that police cannot force you to incriminate yourself. It's a constitutional right, granted by the Fifth Amendment.
That said, people still do it all the time. They just do it unintentionally. If you're facing arrest, it is very important that you know how to avoid accidentally saying something that increases the odds of charges and/or a conviction. Below are a few tips that can help.
In essence, the Fifth Amendment means you do not need to talk to the police at all. Just tell them you'd rather not discuss anything. You cannot be charged for it. They cannot force you to talk. If you're worried about saying the wrong thing, you can say nothing at all.
Remember Your Right to an Attorney
You also have a right to legal assistance. You may just want to tell the police that you're waiting to talk to your lawyer before you talk to them. If you're feeling confused, overwhelmed, emotional and stressed out, it may not be wise to start talking on your own.
Never Forget That Police Can Lie
Police do no have to be honest with you all of the time. For instance, an officer may act like your friend, tell you there's no way to make any charges stick and announce that you'll go home immediately if you tell him or her everything that happened. If you do and what happened was illegal, though, there's no way you're going home. They can lie to get you to confess -- even to something that you did not do.
Facing Charges with Information
If you are facing criminal charges, the best thing you can do is to gather as much information as possible. Learn about your options, the specific charges and how the legal process works. By moving forward carefully, you can avoid mistakes that may make your situation worse.
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