It is common knowledge that people have the right to remain silent in interactions with law enforcement. However, you may not completely understand this right and what it means when you in a situation where an officer is questioning you.

Even though you may have different interactions, your right to remain silent generally stays the same. According to the ACLU of New York, this right means that you do not have to answer questions an officer asks you that could incriminate you in a crime.

Can use it against you

One thing to recognize about this right is that it protects you from giving officers information they can and will use against you in court proceedings. It is easy to say something in the heat of the moment that you do not mean, but because you said it, an officer can use it against you.

An exception

There is one time that you may have to answer an officer’s question, and that is why he or she asks you for identification. The state does not require you to carry your ID, so if you do not have it, then you can tell the officer that. In the event that you are under arrest, you will have to provide the officer with your name if you do not have your ID.

Evoking your right

If an officer is asking you questions, you only need to say that you wish to remain silent. You should inform officers that you want to evoke your right. Do not ignore them or refuse to speak at all as this could escalate the situation.