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When You’re Being Interviewed By the Police, Keep These Tips in Mind
There are a few things that you should always remember when you have been arrested or are under investigation. Remember that your first step in any case should be to contact a Denton criminal defense lawyer at The Law Office of Gregory C. Goline, PLLC to protect your rights and freedom.
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- Always be polite and respectful. Being disrespectful to the police officer will likely make the situation worse and add unnecessary tension and stress.
- You have the right to remain silent. Use it! You have the right to have a Denton criminal defense attorney present when being questioned by the police, use it! Do NOT talk to the police without the presence of your lawyer.
- The police are allowed to be deceptive to increase the likelihood that you will give them information to strengthen their case and could even lead to your conviction. In an effort to convince you to make statements or admissions, the officer might tell you they have evidence that they don’t have or that they have witness statements that simply do not exist.
- Ask if you are free to leave. If the answer is no, then you are being detained. However, if it is what is called a “consensual encounter” and you’ve agreed to speak to the police, you should be free to leave at any time you wish. It isn’t rude to not engage in conversation regarding an investigation so long as you are polite. Politely and respectfully ask whether you are free to leave. If you are free to leave, excuse yourself, walk away, and don’t answer any questions until you’ve spoken to your lawyer or until your lawyer is present with you.
- Don’t lie to the police. It is MUCH better to respectfully decline to answer a question than it is to lie. Lying to the police can come back to haunt you and can be used against you in court. If you are scared to answer, don’t want to answer, or know you shouldn’t answer, politely decline and ask to speak with your attorney.
- Keep in mind that under the Constitution, you have the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer during questioning.
Miranda Rights: the Myths & Facts
What are Miranda rights and where do they come from?
The Miranda warning (“Miranda rights”) come from the United States Supreme Court’s Miranda v. Arizona decision. The Miranda warning requires that police officers inform you of certain rights BEFORE questioning you in what’s called a custodial interrogation.
What are these rights?
- You have the right to remain silent (use it!)
- If you say anything, it CAN be used against you in a court of law
- You have the right to have a lawyer present during any questioning
- If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint one for you
I just got arrested and I wasn’t read my rights! Will my case get dismissed?
Police Officers do not have to read you your Miranda rights after they arrest you. The rights must be read before a custodial interrogation.
If you are subject to a custodial interrogation, you are not free to leave, whether you are in handcuffs on the street, in the back of a squad car, or anywhere else. There are times that the police will have enough to charge you but want your statement. Instead of coming to your house and arresting you, they will ask you to come down to the police department to speak with them. They will put you in an interview room and be very pleasant. They will thank you for coming in, offer you a drink, and tell you that you’re not under arrest and are free to leave at any time. After you talk, they will charge you and use your statement against you because it was actually a non-custodial interrogation. Remember, non-custodian interrogation is when you are free to leave and not being detained.
How do I properly invoke my rights? What are the magic words?
Good news, it’s easy! Just say, “I don’t want to answer any questions. I want an attorney” then promptly call The Law Office of Gregory C. Goline.
Those are the magic 11 words that law enforcement need to hear. It won’t get you out of trouble instantaneously, but it is the only tool at your disposal to protect yourself and keep police from collecting any more evidence from you.
Those magic words also protect you from yourself. Sometimes a simple slip of the tongue can be misconstrued and twisted to come back to haunt you in court.