If a person confesses to a crime, that confession should be freely made. You’ve heard the words “you have the right to remain silent” before on television and in films. That right is derived from the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and it’s intended to protect people from being forced to give information that might be used against them to convict them of a crime. It’s called the right against self-incrimination. When a person is taken into police custody, he or she must be informed of the right to remain silent, and that any statement that is given might be used against him or her in court. The subject should also be advised of their right to counsel. If the right against self-incrimination is invoked during interrogation, police are required to stop questioning a suspect. If the right is invoked in a trial, prosecutors aren’t permitted to comment or criticize a defendant for refusing to testify.
Remaining silent during police questioning isn’t necessarily an invocation of the right to remain silent. It should be expressly and clearly articulated and invoked. Simply stating “I’d like to invoke my right to remain silent” is sufficient. If somebody persists on Fifth Amendment protection, but later waives it in a trial, he or she opens the door to being cross examined and having their credibility attacked.
Never give police a statement of any kind. They might not even have enough evidence to charge you with, but once you give that statement, you might be giving them enough. Always invoke your right to remain silent.