There’s an old adage – often attributed to luminaries such as Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain – that rings true in the context of criminal defense:
- “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt” OR “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.”
When it comes to protecting your rights in the face of a criminal investigation or charges, you have nothing to gain and much to lose by engaging in conversation with law enforcement. You have the right to remain silent, and it is in your best interest to use it.
Seemingly innocent statements can be used against you to build the case to obtain a search warrant or bring criminal charges against you. The best way to avoid making any mistakes is to reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can inform you of your rights and limit your exposure to misdemeanor or felony charges that can haunt you throughout the rest of your life.
When is the right time to talk to an attorney?
As soon as possible. If you are under investigation, it may be possible for a defense attorney to resolve the situation before charges are brought against you. If you’ve already been charged, it may be possible to negotiate a plea agreement that reduces the charges against you and avoids a trial. None of this can happen if you try to go it alone and talk your way out of trouble.