After more than 25 years of practicing as an attorney in the criminal defense field, there are certain things I wish the general public knew. REMAIN SILENT. DON’T SPEAK TO THE POLICE WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY! Unfortunately, all too often, a person speaks with law enforcement, thinking this will help their case. Rarely is this true. Remember the job of the police is to investigate and arrest a person for a crime.
Any Worthy Criminal Defense Lawyer Would Tell You to Remain Silent
‘95 percent of people are convicted out of their own mouth.’
Everyone knows you have the right to remain silent. And yet, an alarming number of people, when asked, will proceed to tell the police everything they know (and sometimes things they only guess at – but false confession is the topic of another post).
The United States Supreme Court and the Fifth Amendment guarantee your right to remain silent when you are being investigated in a criminal matter. You should embrace this right. If, at a later time, a criminal defense attorney, after assessing the situation, believes talking to law enforcement or the prosecution is in your best interest, they will guide that conversation.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer Would Tell You Law Enforcement Only Has to Advise You Of this Right Under Certain Circumstances
Commonly known as the Miranda Warning, law enforcement read this advisory at the drop of a hat on television. However, television rarely reflects real life. In real life, law enforcement only has to advise you of your right to remain silent when two conditions exist:
- You are in custodial detention; and
- They wish to interrogate you for a specific crime.
Consequently, if you are arrested but they don’t take a statement from you, no Miranda Warning is required. More important, if you are being questioned, but not in custody, no Miranda Warning is required.
Anytime the police wish to speak with you about possible criminal conduct, you should invoke your right to remain silent. Contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Only a criminal defense lawyer will protect your interests.
Talking to Police Doesn’t Help You
Few, if any, criminal defense attorneys know of a case where a person has talked their way out of charges. However, almost every attorney has seen people talk themselves in to charges. If law enforcement shows an interest in talking to you about a criminal case, it is because they believe you will give a statement against your interests and convict yourself of the crime. They do not have to tell you what that evidence might be. In fact, there is no advantage to them telling you what evidence they have or think they have against you.
It is not uncommon for law enforcement to convey “This is your only chance to let the judge/prosecutor/law enforcement know your side of the story.” This statement sounds scary. Many people speak with law enforcement after hearing this. However, this is simply not true. Your criminal defense lawyer advocates on your behalf at all stages of the proceedings, from prior you being charged through the end of your case.
If You are Under Investigation or Have Been Charged with a Crime
If you are facing criminal charges, you need an experienced advocate on your side. Contact the law office of Steven F. O’Meara. We are here to ensure your rights are protected and you have the legal help you need and deserve.