Never Talk to the Police
Know Your Rights When Stopped by the Police
When a police officer or someone from law enforcement wants to talk to
you, most of the time they are conducting a criminal investigation and
want to make an arrest. It is in your best interest not to cooperate and
talk to the police, unless you are the victim of a crime. In fact, you
have a Fifth Amendment Constitutional right to remain silent. The Fifth
Amendment provides that "no person...shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." Exercise your right to remain silent at all times!
If a police officer approaches you on the street or as you are entering
your car, you can ask the officer, "Am I free to go?" If the officer says "yes," then you should leave. However,
if he says "no," then consider yourself a suspect and it is
at this point that you should exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain
silent. The officer cannot and will not arrest you for not answering their
questions. Do not try to talk the police officer into not arresting you.
He will arrest you if he has probable cause to do so.
If the officer wants to search you it is important that you tell the officer
that you do not consent to the search. The officer may decide to search
you anyway but it is important that you make it clear to the officer that
you are not agreeing to the search by saying “I do not consent to the search.”
Being aware of your rights and not speaking to law enforcement can protect
you and the strength of your defense, should charges be filed against
you. By not talking to police, you give your criminal defense attorney
a better opportunity to prepare an effective defense on your behalf.
Arrested or Under Investigation?
Contact Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners to Discuss Your Case!
Reasons Why You Should Not Talk To The Police
You've likely seen cases on the news where suspects make the prosecutor's
case themselves by saying too much. When you speak to police, you risk
confessing or just providing them with information they can use to charge
you with a crime. Even if you don't think what you're saying is
important, the best thing to do is remain silent. To put things simply,
talking to the police cannot help you.
You are at a disadvantage when talking to the police. They are trained
in getting admissions and confessions from people. You should know that:
- What you say to the police during a police stop CAN be used against you.
- Police officers may attempt to mislead you into incriminating yourself.
- Officers may misunderstand what you say, intentionally or accidentally.
- You may admit to knowing some facts which can be used to prove your involvement
or knowledge of a crime.
- Some people feel the need to lie to the police during the interview, which
may put you under suspicion, and later affect your credibility (whether
a judge or jury believes you).
- The police officer may put words into your mouth and claim that you made
incriminating statements, when in reality, you did not.
- Police do not have the authority to make deals with you or give you leniency.
That is up to the prosecutor.
- Even if you believe you are guilty, there is no need to rush into a confession.
Circumstances may change and a criminal defense attorney may be able to
spot flaws or errors in your case that can be used at a later time to
have your charges reduced or dismissed.
- Even if you believe you are innocent, facts can be misconstrued; you may
tell a white lie, and you may say something that may be used against you
if you decide to talk.
Common Scenarios Used by Law Enforcement
Police interviews are aimed at producing one thing and one thing only:
a CONFESSION. The best response to a law enforcement officer when they
want to interview you is to request to speak a lawyer or simply say nothing
at all. Some of the more common scenarios used by police to interview
Direct Confrontation– In this scenario the police officer and/or the detective get in
the suspect's face and tells the suspect that all the evidence points
to the suspect and they know the suspect committed the crime. The officer
may lie to the suspect and say the suspect's DNA or fingerprints were
found at the crime scene. The officer continually tells the suspect they
know that he/she committed the crime and that he/she should just admit
it and move on. The officer is pressing the suspect into a confession.
The officer may even get the suspect to offer a face-saving explanation
as to why he did it and this allows the suspect to minimize the crime.
Apology Scenario- Here the officer will tell the suspect that he / she should apologize
to the victim in order to complete his investigation. The officer will
request the suspect write out a full apology letter which includes all
the details of the crime. The officer tells the suspect he will present
this apology letter to the judge as well. When the suspect does this,
he is essentially providing the officer with a full confession of his
crime. Having a confession like this provides the prosecutor with a slam
dunk case for a conviction.
Your Side of the Story- In this scenario the officer tells the suspect he wants to complete his
investigation and in order to do so, the officer needs to include the
suspect's version of events. The officer makes the suspect feel at
ease by suggesting that everything will be okay once he gives his side
of the story. This is not the case. The officer will compare the suspect's
story with the evidence he gathered previously. The officer will likely
find that the suspect's story may be full of holes, admissions, and
inconsistencies which can later be used against him.
Lying Scenario- In this scenario the officer asks the suspect for his version of the
facts. He encourages the suspect to just keep talking and most suspects
do continue talking because they are nervous and think by talking to the
officer and giving a believable story that they can talk themselves out
of the situation and avoid being arrested. Then the officer responds by
telling the suspect that he knows he is lying because he has witnesses
that will contradict the suspect. The officer may be lying and in essence
testing the suspect. Officers are allowed to lie to the suspect. It is
part of their interviewing technique. The suspect is intimidated by the
officer's response and breaks down and starts confessing to the crime
or his involvement in the crime.
Provide Identifying Information ONLY
While anyone being questioned should remain silent, there are some things
they should do when asked by police. When stopped, for example, you should
provide law enforcement with personal identifying information such as
your name, date of birth and your address. You do not have to speak further
than that, however. Exercise your rights and simply state you no longer
wish to talk, without an attorney there with you.
How to Exercise Your Rights
The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution gives you the right
to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. You should exercise this
right and never, under any circumstances, speak to a police officer.
Invoke your 5th Amendment right by stating you do not wish to talk without first consulting a lawyer.
- DO NOT agree to an interview.
- DO NOT attempt to make a deal with an officer.
- DO NOT make any comment or statement.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys
Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners is available to respond immediately
to your call for help. If a police officer, sheriff's deputy, detective,
or Federal Agent wants to speak to you,
call Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners immediately. We have successfully assisted many of our clients in these
types of matters.