If you have been arrested on drug possession or cultivation charges, you may already be aware of your right to remain silent. Generally, this refers to your right to not incriminate yourself in front of police officers or a jury. However, the right to remain silent can be more complicated than simply not talking to police officers when they detain you or while you are being held in custody. For example, you may have to actually invoke your right to remain silent by stating that you doing so in order for your silence to not be admissible as a sign of guilt in court. Also, may of the conversations that you have while in custody are admissible in court, not just the conversations you have with police officers.
Here is a simple guideline to follow when it comes to people you should not talk to about your criminal charges or any drug related activity.
You should refrain from answering police questions without a lawyer present. In some states, you have to give your name and produce identification when a police officer asks for it. However, beyond that you should not answer questions. Instead, you should state clearly that you are exercising your right to remain silent. You may also ask whether you are in custody or are free to go, if you have not been arrested.
People In Jail
If you are being held in custody, there may be other people in jail with you. While, "what are you in for?" may seem like a common question, answering it can cause more trouble with your case. Anything a police officer overhears you saying while you are in custody or anything that your fellow inmates choose to share with the police could potentially be used against you in further investigations or in court.
It is best to keep to yourself while you are in custody. If you are arrested at the same time as one or more of your acquaintances, do not discuss the case with them while you are in custody. Instead, contact a lawyer for advice and concentrate on getting released as soon as possible.
Your Friends and Family
If your friends and family come to visit you while you are in custody, you should limit your conversation to topics not related to your case. Often, these conversations can be monitored by police officers. You should not admit guilt and you should not mention to your friends and family where they can find evidence to get rid of. Not only could this incriminate you, but it could cause your friends or family to be charged as accessories to a crime.
Even after you get out of custody, you should refrain from discussing the specifics of your case with anyone except your lawyer until your case is over.
If you have someone who you expect may have drugs on them, such as a dealer or a friend, you should not contact them while you are in custody. Police officers may check up on who you choose to contact while you are in custody and contacting possible accomplices can make you look guilty and potentially end up with them facing similar charges. If you need to contact someone about your case, you should do so through your lawyer.
Once you are out of custody, you should continue to refrain from contacting anyone else who may be associated with the possession or sale of drugs.
If you are arrested, you should contact a drug defense attorney as soon as possible and only discuss the case with them. If you have questions about what you can or should say to other people, your lawyer can advise you.