Today we learned from Karoun Demirjian of the Washington Post that “Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser under President Trump, refused to comply with a Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena….” Frankly, if you are being investigated for a crime, you’d be smart to follow Ret. Lt. Gen. Flynn’s example of invoking his right to remain silent.

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The bolded language is what’s important here.

Many of my clients think talking with law enforcement and trying to “tell their side of the story” without an attorney present is a good idea. Frankly, they are always wrong. Law enforcement will utilize various techniques, including out-right lies, to get people to incriminate (provide harmful information about) themselves. By the time I get the case, my client’s own words often “seal the deal” for the government.

Some say “taking the Fifth” demonstrates your guilt. This is simply not so. Relying on the protections of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution is something the Founders of this country believed to be an appropriate protection against the government. It is your absolute right to not speak with law enforcement. Your refusal cannot be used against you.

If you are, or believe you might be, being investigated it is in your interest to not speak with police until you have obtained the services of a qualified attorney to advise you. Call me if you’d like representation in this situation. Trust me, you are better off getting legal help now than after you have cooked your own goose.