Can being too polite to the police get you convicted? Absolutely.
Suppose you have somehow ended up down at the station and are being questioned in the interrogation room. You are disconnected from your friends and your family, and in fact, cannot talk to anybody while the police are questioning you. They go on to tell you that they have good, credible information that you have been involved in some type of criminal behavior. They have statements. They tell you that they know that you were the one who did it and are asking you to give a statement. They say, “Hey, I am going to read you these rights. Don’t worry about it though, just sign right here and we will start this recorder to get your statement.”
Here is the thing that you need to know in these situations. You need to exercise your Sixth Amendment right. You don’t even need to remember that number, just remember to say, “I have nothing to say, I want to talk to an attorney.” Then, and this is the important part, be quiet. If you want to be polite, you can say, “I understand officer, I know you are just trying to do your job. I don’t have anything to say, and I would like to talk to an attorney.”
The reason why I tie being convicted to being polite is that many times people are just too afraid to be assertive. They sit there and try to be good-mannered. They are worried about law enforcement’s feelings instead of worrying about the fact that if they go on record and make a statement, that they may be facing felonies. People are sometimes more concerned with being rude to law enforcement than their own liberty. Do not worry about law enforcement or their feelings, and do not worry about being rude. You need to be assertive and clear, and you need to exercise The Sixth Amendment right to counsel. All you need to say are two things, “I have nothing to say,” and, “I would like to talk to an attorney.” Then from there, you need to be quiet.
Once you speak those magical words, by law, the interrogation must stop immediately. After you invoke your Sixth Amendment right, save your words and wait until you can talk to an attorney. With your attorney, you can then weigh your options and get good advice. You just may be able to save yourself from that felony conviction.
Regardless of what they say, just remember the words, “I don’t have anything to say, and I want an attorney.” Save your liberty and keep it intact. I hope that this has been helpful to you. If you have any questions for me, send me an email or give me a call. I am always more than happy to help. Until next time, remember, if you have to be guilty of anything, be guilty of greatness. Take great care.