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December 26, 2021

11 Things Not to Say to Law Enforcement When You’re Arrested (And What to Say Instead)

When it comes to interacting with the police during an arrest, it’s imperative to keep calm and watch what you say. One important exception is if the police ask you to identify yourself. Under Nevada statute 171.123, refusing to do so is grounds for arrest.

However, an identification request is only legal when the police are attempting “to ascertain” your identity. After that, you do not have to “answer any other inquiry.”

Please note, too, that (usually) the only time that you have to provide documentation of your identity is during a traffic stop.

You Do Not Have The Right to Resist Arrest

In the United States, you do not have the right to resist arrest. Later, if and when charges are filed against you, will it be time to fight. To put up a good fight, though, it is best to remain silent besides our advice at the end of this article.

Again, the only exception to this is Nevada’s “Stop and Identify” law. And once you have stated your name out loud, you can remain silent.

Keep reading to learn what you should never say to law enforcement during an arrest.

What Police Should Say When You’re Arrested

After you’ve been arrested, the police should read your Miranda Rights, which are as follows:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to consult a lawyer and have that lawyer present during any questioning.
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.
  • If you choose to talk to a police officer, you have the right to stop your interview at any time.

One critical thing to note: your Miranda rights do not protect you until you are arrested.

Any questions asked before the arrest must be prefaced by the officer informing you that this is voluntary information that you’re providing. Law enforcement may not tell you this. And even though you’re not in custody, the police could be gathering information to later use against you.

Keep reading to learn how to navigate an arrest and what to never say to a cop while in custody.

11 Things Never to Say to Law Enforcement When You’re Arrested

Though some of the following statements may seem obvious, during an arrest, your emotions may be running high and your instincts may be in disarray.

But besides providing your name if a cop asks for it – and has reasonable suspicion to do so – remain silent.

And never utter the following phrases.

“I’m guilty.”

Early admission of guilt might seem like a good idea – whether as a way to incur leniency or clear your conscience – but it can backfire. Also, admitting guilt to a cop will not result in lighter sentencing.

Until you know the full extent of the charges and have spoken to a lawyer, do not admit guilt. That is to be decided in a court of law. Not a jail cell or the back of a cruiser.

“You’re going to regret this.”

Americans are born with unalienable rights of their person, property, and the pursuit of happiness Resisting arrest and threatening police officers are not within those rights.

As tempting as it might be – especially if you were wrongly arrested, are assured of your innocence, or are simply a confident person – saying this will only make a bad situation that much worst.

Moreover, an arresting officer may take your words as a threat. This, again, could exacerbate the situation and perhaps your current charges.

“You can search my _____.”

A show of good faith is not how the law works. You are well within your rights to refuse a search.

Even if you think you have nothing to hide, you don’t know what the officers are looking for. Rather than play guessing games, ask for a warrant.

“Do you know who I am?”

All American citizens are created equal and none of us are above the law.

During an arrest, it does not matter who you are. Trying to throw your weight around and suggesting your name alone could get a cop into trouble will most likely not be taken well.

“I didn’t know it was a crime.”

It’s understandable why you might want to try and plead ignorance during arrest, hoping law enforcement will understand. That is not how things work during an arrest, however.

Cops are not your pals, there to laugh off a misunderstanding or explain the law. They’re more likely to point out that ignorance of the law doesn’t exempt you from breaking it.

Law enforcement upholds the law. And in this case, they could take your words as an admission of guilt, especially if they’ve already read your Miranda Rights.

“It was an accident.”

If it was an accident, these words could get you into more trouble, as they could get interpreted as your confession.

In cases where there are thorny details to work through or if it was an accident – you want to talk to a criminal defense lawyer with your best interest in mind. Not a cop trying to book you.

“It was _____’s fault.”

That’s up to the court to decide, not you. Whether or not you deliver the perpetrator’s name will not buy you points with the cops. In fact, naming and blaming could be used against you.

No matter how cut and dry the situation may seem to you, only discuss naming names with your lawyer.

“What happened was…”

While it may seem like a good idea to come clean, always remember, “anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.”

To put it more simply: trying to explain what happened may get you into more trouble.

During an arrest, a cop isn’t interested in holding an informal court on the side of the road. They are not there to clarify the situation. A cop is there to do their job, and at that moment, it may be arresting you.

“I only had one drink.”

Admitting to one drink is admitting to drinking, which is a confession. At that point, the cop would probably want to use a breathalyzer on you or bring you down to the station for further questioning.

Safe to say that attempting to appeal to a cop with “oh, come on” logic or “we’re all human” never works.

“I pay your salary.”

This is the last thing a cop wants to hear while making an arrest. Also, paying taxes does not exempt you from breaking the law. And antagonizing an officer could cause the law to come down harder on you.

Any lie

Lies won’t help you avoid your arrest or lighten your charges. If you get caught lying to an officer, you could be charged with obstruction of justice, which can lead to a felony conviction.

Better to play it safe, only give your name, state our following advice, and then remain silent.

The Only Thing to Say to Law Enforcement When Arrested

“I wish to remain silent and I want to talk to a lawyer.”

Beyond your name, if asked, that’s it. Remember, you have “the right to remain silent” and “the right to a defense attorney.”

Use those rights, because “anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.”

Staying silent and calm is the best route to take during an arrest.

Were You or a Loved One Recently Arrested? Secure a Defense Attorney You Can Trust

Silence is golden when it comes to interacting with law enforcement during an arrest. Nothing you say will work in your favor, whether it’s the truth, a confession, or a lie. Wait to speak to a lawyer.

Also, remember, Nevada is a “Stop and Identify” state, which means that by law, you can fulfill a police officer’s request for identification by stating your name out loud. During a traffic stop, you are required to provide documentation to verify this as well.

If you were recently arrested and require legal assistance, contact Marchiano Law Corp to secure a defense attorney in Henderson, Nevada.