If you are a suspect in a crime, it is important that you know how to protect yourself and what you should or should not do during an investigation.
You may know that you should call your attorney right away, but what else will help? Here are a few tips on how to protect your rights moving forward.
1. Don’t think you’re obligated to answer questions
If you are stopped as you walk down the street or even in your place of work, you aren’t automatically obligated to talk to the police. They may continue to press you for information to ascertain if you are guilty of a crime. Remember, anything you say can be used against you in court, so it’s a good idea to tell the officer that you don’t wish to speak with them unless you have your attorney present.
Ask if you are free to leave. If so, it’s in your best interests to do so. If not, then you are likely under arrest and should say nothing except to give the officer your name, date of birth and other basic personal information. Ask for your attorney right away.
2. Get your attorney
The next thing to do is to talk to your attorney. Your attorney can speak to you without the threat of what you share being used against you in the future. Your attorney can also give you advice on what you should or should not say and if the police detained you legally.
3. Remember that oral and written confessions work similarly
If you do say that you’re responsible for a crime, you could find that your oral statement can be used against you in the same way as a written statement. It’s never good to speak to the police unless you are sure of what you want to say and how it will affect you. It’s better to wait to answer questions until you’ve spoken with your attorney about the options you have.
Remember, the police should read your Miranda Rights to you, but they only do so if they want to question you. If you offer information of any kind without provocation, they can still use that information in court. However, if they question you without reading your rights, then you may have a strong case against any evidence they collected, since it was collected illegally. This is something that could prevent evidence from being thrown out in court.