The short answer is easy: you should say nothing. Instead, ask for a lawyer. But of course the reality is never so simple. We always want to profess our innocence or provide details that might mitigate our guilt. Most first-time offenders don’t know enough to keep their mouths shut. Chances are if you’re on this page, you’re a first-time offender. You’ve already talked more than you should have talked. It’s okay. We’re here to provide you with the next steps.
There is no such thing as an amount of communication with the police that is too little or too much. It depends on the situation and the circumstances of your arrest. However, it is important to be as cooperative as you can throughout the process. If and when you sit down with a judge, the judge will likely ask the arresting officers what you’ve been like up until that point.
It stands to reason that if you were openly hostile during your arrest, you’re more likely to face more severe repercussions during arraignment. The judge can decide to release you almost immediately if you’re sober, or let you stew in jail. Your bail can be low, high, or non-existent. So much of what happens next depends on your attitude towards law enforcement.
Hopefully you will have a lawyer present for any subsequent interrogations or interviews. Whether or not you do, you should know that you always have the right to remain silent or withhold a comment in response to a question. An interviewer might twist your silence to mean guilt, but do not become agitated into making a confession or a statement that can be used against you later.
Do not lie to the police. You shouldn’t need to lie. Because you should avoid answering any question that might incriminate you. It’s easy to justify your decision to keep silent: you’re worried that the police might decide your guilt or innocence based on personality rather than on the facts, or that something you say might make it seem like you’re guilty of a crime even though you meant something completely different.
Your lawyer should be allowed to do much of the talking, and will direct you whether or not to answer specific questions.
After your arrest, you will want to write down every single detail of what happened from the moment of your arrest right up until your release. Were you read your Miranda rights? Believe it or not, it depends on when those rights were read. So don’t forget to write those details down! They’re very important for your eventual defense.