If the police want to talk to you about an alleged crime, what should you say? Maybe they pulled you over, found a large amount of cash in the car, and now they want to take the money because they think it came from a drug sale. As they go through the vehicle, one of the officers keeps asking you questions about where you were, where you’re going, where you got the money and much more.

Should you say that you plead the Fifth, invoking your right to remain silent? Should you tell the officer that you’d rather not talk to them? Should you try to answer their questions honestly?

One legal professor doesn’t think you should do any of that. Beyond your legal obligations, he says that you should simply tell them you want to get an attorney. With every question they ask, just repeat it. You want your attorney.

Why is this better than invoking the right to remain silent? It accomplishes the same thing, but you don’t have to technically plead the Fifth, which can come up during the court case and may sway a jury’s opinion. Plus, the officer may try to ask you why you don’t want to talk, hoping to get you to make a mistake. Asking for your attorney gives them no way to continue the conversation and it does not harm your image in court.

Remember your rights when you get stopped by the police. Make sure you know exactly what to say, what not to say and what legal steps to take to protect yourself.