Four Reasons To Never Speak To The Police Without A Lawyer
Dealing with police officers can be terrifying. We often feel like we need to answer all of an officer’s questions because we want to prove that we didn’t do anything wrong. However, with the high number of wrongfully convicted people, it’s clear that talking to a police officer without an attorney has grave consequences. Here are five reasons you should NEVER speak to the police without having an experienced attorney present.
1. You Have a Constitutional Right to Remain Silent
The United States Constitution gives you the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment. It states that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” So what exactly does that mean? First, and most importantly, the government and the district attorneys cannot force you to testify at your own criminal trial. While you have the right to testify, and you may choose to do so, the law protects you and affords you that choice.
Second, the right to remain silent also means that you do not have to answer questions from police officers related to the investigation of a possible crime. You do not have to say ANYTHING. This right applies whether or not you are in police custody or under arrest.
Another critical element of the right to remain silent is the ability to stop answering questions once you’ve started speaking to officers. Let’s say you do initially decide to talk with the police and answer some questions. If you start to become uncomfortable at any time during the interrogation, you are free to invoke your Fifth Amendment rights and stop talking so you can speak with an attorney first.
So when do your Miranda rights kick in? Your Miranda rights (the whole you have the right to remain silent speech you see on Law and Order) are only triggered once you are in custody. So while you always have the right to remain silent, the police are only required to advise you of your right to remain silent once you are under arrest or in custodial interrogation.
2. You Always Have the Right to Have an Attorney Present During an Interrogation.
The United States Constitution gives you the right to consult with an attorney before speaking with the police under the Sixth Amendment. The Sixth Amendment provides that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused has the “right to the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
People may be afraid to ask for an attorney because it makes them “look guilty.” Some police officers may even insinuate that you should be able to speak to them if you have nothing to hide. But think about it like this – if the police are questioning you, they believe you are guilty of something. And even if you think you’re helping yourself, there’s almost a guarantee that you’re digging yourself into a bigger hole, and you don’t know it yet. So remember: Everything you say can and will be used against you.
An experienced criminal defense attorney understands how the police and the legal system work. The right attorney is a crucial part of your defense and can help you navigate dealing with the police. So why do you think the police get upset when you invoke your rights to an attorney? It’s because having an attorney present helps you and hurts them. So when the police ask to speak with them, make sure you invoke your 5th Amendment right and say, “not without my attorney present.”
3. The Police Can Lie to You–But You Can’t Lie to the police.
Police officers can lie to you during an interrogation. Police officers can lie to you about having evidence, having witnesses, “knowing” information, and even the fact that someone identified you. Police officers often do this to get you to start talking to them and keep you talking to them. The more you talk – the more likely they will get you to say what they want you to say.
Only the District Attorney can offer you a deal (such as a plea agreement). The police officers cannot help you get a better deal and cannot even help you get a lesser charge. Police officers may lie and say they’ll “put in a good word to the District Attorney.” But why would they if you have already made incriminating statements to the police without a lawyer present? You lose all your leverage when you speak to the police without a lawyer present. And while a lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf, the more you talk, the less likely you’re going to like the District Attorney’s offer.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in court, you need the criminal defense lawyers at ALL Trial Lawyers by your side. The attorneys at ALL Trial Lawyers are trial attorneys with years of experience. They know the law, and they’re not afraid to take your case to trial. In addition, they have a strong reputation among judges and prosecutors throughout Southern California, which has delivered tremendous victories for their clients. Our ultimate goal is to deliver the best results that can be achieved in your case— whether that be way of outright dismissal, a favorable plea bargain deal, or an acquittal of the charges at trial. With ALL Trial Lawyers by your side, you can rest assured that the criminal team will be giving you their all.
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