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Shut The F@%K Up!

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Words of Wisdom from a Criminal Defense Lawyer: Shut The F@%K Up!

            Want to know the most profound and simplest legal advice that a criminal defense lawyer will often give you? Shut the f@%k up! So short. So simple. And yet, the hardest piece of advice for most people to follow.

            Comedian Ron White has a famous comedy sketch that starts, “I got thrown out of a bar in New York City.” He says, when confronted by the police, “I had the right to remain silent…but I didn’t have the ability.” Most people find this universally funny. Most criminal defense lawyers find this as just another day at the office. Truth of the matter is, that while all of us possess a constitutionally protected right to remain silent, most people just can’t help themselves. Most people just can’t shut the f@%k up.

            I get it. You think you are going to talk your way out of the situation. You think the police are going to believe you. Or maybe that you won’t incriminate yourself. Shut the f@%k up! Anything and everything you say will be used against you. Anything. Everything. Shut the f@%k up! Assume you are constantly being recorded, video taped, and listened to. Why? Because of most of the time, the police are listening.

            The free legal advice extends beyond your initial encounter with the police. Going to use a phone from prison? Shut the f@%k up! Those calls are recorded. Going to talk about your criminal enterprise on a cell phone or social media messaging? Shut the f@%k up! The government can intercept that too! Going to bear your soul to a friend or partner? Shut the f@%k up! If it isn’t your spouse, priest, or lawyer, what you say isn’t privileged information and the person you confess to can be compelled to testify against you. Want to tell the officer you just had two beers and that you are too drunk to take the field sobriety test? Shut the f@%k up!

            The best legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer for your time before, during, and after an arrest for a criminal offense? Shut the f@%k up! You can simply say, “I am exercising my constitutional right to remain silent.” It’s just that simple.

Franz N. Borghardt

Franz Borghardt