Can words be used against you?

Let’s continue the discussion of how not to have your words used against you. You have been approached by some law enforcement agent regarding an offense. It is unclear to you whether you are being targeted for prosecution or are being approached as a material witness. You quickly decide that not talking at this time is in your best interests and that you need to consult a lawyer to protect yourself from making a mistake. How do you go about this? First, you can simply say, “I am not going to talk to you.” While this seems sufficient, it also holds a hidden use against you. This refusal can be used against you later. This statement, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, is NOT an invocation of your 5th Amendment right. You must specifically invoke or state “I am excercising my right to remain silent and do not choose to speak with you.” This refusal cannot be brough up and used against you later. We will discuss more about this “invocation” issue as we progress through the process. For now, just remember that to be effect you must include a reference to the 5th Amendment in your refusal.