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No, you do not have to talk to police

Few things can be more intimidating than sitting across from a police investigator in an interrogation room. After all, law enforcement officers receive training on how to get criminal suspects to talk. If officers have arrested you on suspicion of drug possession, what you say or do not say matters. 

Before prosecutors take a case to court, they usually must have enough evidence to secure a conviction. Evidence comes in a variety of types, but incriminating statements are often the best sort. The U.S. Constitution protects you against self-incrimination. For that reason, officers must advise you of your right to remain silent when they take you into custody. Here are some tips for staying silent.

1. Ask for an attorney 

During an arrest, officers must tell you that you have the right to have an attorney present during police questioning. If you begin to answer questions, though, you implicitly waive this right. On the other hand, if you ask for an attorney, officers should stop interviewing you until you have your lawyer present. 

2. Tell officers you want to remain silent 

Detectives know how to get suspects to talk. If you think you can outsmart police with your responses to questioning, you are probably wrong. Instead, simply tell officers that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent. After you do, detectives should stop questioning you. 

3. Just stay quiet 

If you say nothing at all, prosecutors cannot use your statements against you in court. If you do not want to ask for a lawyer or affirmatively assert your right to remain silent, you can simply stay quiet. With this approach, though, officers may continue to try to interview you until you crack. 

You may believe that cooperating with police officers is an effective strategy for making your problem go away. If you have been using drugs in violation of Texas law, however, it probably is not. By exercising your right to remain silent, you decrease the chances that prosecutors will use your words against you to secure a conviction.

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