A lot of people who end up convicted of a criminal offense wind up there because they don’t know how to exercise their rights to protect their interests. Others end up behind bars because they think that they can be slick and talk themselves out of trouble. Both tactics, of course, are dangerous and they should avoid them if at all possible.
To help you do that, this week on the blog we wanted to look at your right to remain silent and your Miranda rights so that you know how to use them to protect yourself.
What you need to know about your right to remain silent
Regardless of what investigators tell you, you have Constitutional protections against incriminating yourself. Therefore, you don’t have to talk to the police, and you certainly won’t be required to testify if you end up charged and your case heads to trial.
Therefore, it’s almost always best to remain silent when the police question you. Even if they make outlandish statements that leave you feeling like you need to explain, don’t. The police can lie to you and misconstrue the facts in an attempt to get you to talk. So, be aware of the police’s techniques when they approach you so that you’re confident in your ability to shut them down.
What you need to know about your Miranda rights
If you’re subjected to custodial interrogation, the police are required to give you a Miranda warning, which advises you of your rights. Among these rights are the right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. If the police fail to advise you of these rights, any statements that you make to the police may be kept out of court and prevented from being used against you.
The tricky thing here that you need to know about is that law enforcement often tries to get you to talk outside of the confines of a custodial interrogation so that you don’t have to be informed of your rights.
What is a custodial interrogation?
Simply put, you’re under custodial interrogation if the police ask you questions and you aren’t free to leave. The best way to know for sure whether you’re being interrogated is to ask if you’re free to go. If the answer is “no,” you’re being interrogated and should be read your Miranda rights.
Asking for an attorney
Remember, you always have the right to ask to speak with your attorney. In fact, any time the police approach you as part of an investigation, it’s in your best interests to seek legal guidance to make sure that you’re not walking into a trap or talking yourself into trouble.
Don’t worry about any perceptions that asking for an attorney may give. Although the police may look at it as an indication of guilt, the law itself doesn’t do that, and that’s what matters. You’re innocent until proven guilty.
Building your criminal defense starts now
It’s never too early to start building your criminal defense. In fact, you don’t have to wait for criminal charges to be levied against you before you act to protect yourself. To protect your interests and your future as fully as possible, you need to have a lot of foresight, understanding how the police implement strategies to try to obtain a conviction.
The good news is that an attorney can be with you every step of the way in your case. So, if you’ve been looped into an investigation, consider reaching out to a legal team that you think can best protect you, your interests and your future.