Silence is Golden

Probably the biggest obstacle a defense attorney faces is the client who confesses his crime to the police. Often times if you are a suspect, the police will invite you to come down to the station. When you get there, they will tell you that you are not under arrest and that you are free to go at any time. Then they will tell you that if you are willing to talk with them, they will do their best to go easy on you. They may also mention, that this is the time when you have the chance to tell your side of the story and if you do not talk, the prosecutor will only hear their side.
First off, if the police invite you to the station, it’s exactly that, an invitation. You don’t have to go. Once there, the police will say you are not in custody. They do that so they don’t have to read you your Miranda rights. The US Supreme Court has ruled that being in custody is when a reasonable person believes he cannot leave. For instance, let’s say you are at the station and in a small room where the police lock the door. That’s custody. But say, you are in the same room, the door is not locked, the police are not in front of the door blocking your exit, and the police don’t say you can’t leave, you are probably not in custody. And if you are not in custody, they don't have to tell your rights before questioning you. And again, if you are not in custody, you can leave at any time. It’s a good idea to be polite, but you can say, “I think I want to go home now.” Again, the police may tell you that it could go much better for you if you don’t leave, but if you stay and open your mouth, they will use anything you say against you.

The bottom line, don’t voluntarily go to the station, don’t voluntarily answer questions and don’t help the police convict you. Remember if you don’t say anything, it cannot be used against you. Ask for an attorney. Once you ask, the police must stop questioning you. If you are at the station and the police say you cannot leave, ask them if you are under arrest. If they say no, then politely say you are leaving. On the other hand, if they say that you cannot leave, tell them to obtain a warrant and ask for an attorney.