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How to Prevent a Police Officer From Using Your Words Against You

kokou adzo



man in black police uniform

During interactions with law enforcement, your words can significantly impact the outcome of a situation. Understanding how to communicate effectively with police officers while safeguarding your rights can prevent the misinterpretation or misuse of your words against you. 

The Power of the Confession

A confession or statement from someone who is being investigated for a crime doesn’t automatically mean they’re guilty. And it doesn’t mean they can just give you a sentence and throw you behind bars. Yet, you should never underestimate the power your words have in a confession – whether you see it as a confession or not.

“In a court of law, confession evidence is highly regarded but fallible,” Palo Alto University explains. “However, previous research has demonstrated that confessions are so potent that, once taken, they often lead police to close investigations, [introduce bias to] expert witnesses, and lead prosecutors, judges, and juries to presume the confessor guilty—frequently resulting in wrongful convictions.”

Law enforcement officers, for better or worse, will often turn even the most innocuous statements into “confessions.” So it’s imperative that you have a plan when speaking to the police about any situation. 

How to Prevent Law Enforcement From Using Your Words Against You

Police officers and investigators have a job to do. Most of them aren’t out there looking to put innocent people away or ruin someone’s life. They’re just trying to do their jobs, which is to find answers and do what they can to enforce laws. With that being said, many of them are a bit overzealous in their attempts to do this. 

Here are some things you can do to prevent law enforcement from using your words against you:

  • Stay Calm and Composed

During any encounter with law enforcement, remain calm and composed. Take deep breaths to steady yourself. Just because a police officer or investigator is talking to you doesn’t mean they think you’re guilty. Sometimes it’s as simple as checking their boxes and moving on. The more calm you stay, the less of a reason you give them to really home in and focus on you.

By staying calm, you’ll be able to understand the situation a little better and articulate your thoughts clearly. Law enforcement is often fishing for inconsistencies or things that don’t sound quite right. When you’re calm and composed, you’re less likely to mix up your story and give them reason to suspect you of being guilty. 

  • Exercise Your Right to Silence

We’ve all heard the Miranda Rights being read on cop shows or true crime podcasts. Make sure you utilize these rights, including the right to remain silent.

If you feel uncomfortable or unsure about answering questions, it’s okay to invoke this right. You can politely say, “I prefer to remain silent” or “I want to speak with an attorney first.” It’s essential to be respectful while asserting your rights – but make sure you know these rights exist.

  • Make it Clear You Want an Attorney

Speaking of rights, you need to be very clear that you want an attorney. A lot of people make the mistake of saying things like:

  • Should I hire an attorney?
  • I wonder if I need an attorney.
  • I should probably call an attorney.

Each of the statements above is vague at best. Be clear with your intentions and say, I would like to speak with an attorney right now. This prevents them from using questionable tactics to get you to say something.

“You should never give law enforcement the opportunity to try the whole ‘good cop-bad copy’ charade,” attorney Rowdy G. Williams says. “By asking for an attorney right away, you cut them off from being able to use their questionable tactics.”

When you request an attorney, law enforcement is required to stop asking you questions immediately and give you the ability to contact a lawyer. If they don’t, they’re breaking the law and their case/evidence is instantly compromised.

  • Avoid Being Confrontational

Don’t be a jerk. You might feel like screaming, shouting, pointing fingers, or questioning why you’re being interrogated, but that doesn’t get you anywhere. Be respectful, controlled, and calm. This will go a long way and prevent them from unnecessarily targeting you.

Use Your Rights

It’s important to remember that you have rights. And while there could come a time when you need to say certain things in order to ‘level set’ or let the truth be known, you don’t have to do it right away. Know your rights, use your rights, and do whatever you can to protect your own best interests for as long as possible. 

Your attorney can help you develop a strategy for what to do next.

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at

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