Know Your Rights Before Speaking to Law Enforcement
When a police officer wants to speak with you, it is typically because they are conducting a criminal investigation. But unless you are a victim of a crime, it is never in your best interest to talk to law enforcement.
It is our Fifth Amendment Constitutional right to remain silent. The Fifth Amendment sets forth that "no person...shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." So remember to exercise your right to remain silent at all times.
Have the police asked to speak with you? Or have you already been arrested and charged with a crime? If so, reach out to Houston’s leading criminal defense attorneys. Call Maverick Ray & Associates at (281) 672-8029 today to talk to a lawyer for FREE.
Why You Should Never Talk to the Police
You just received word that a member of law enforcement wants to speak with you. What should you do? Well, the question actually is, what shouldn’t you do? And what you shouldn’t ever do in this situation is ever talk to the police - at least without your lawyer present.
Unless you are the victim who called the police, if a cop wants to ask you questions, it is likely they suspect you of committing a crime. If you talk to them, you can accidentally confess to wrongdoing or give them enough details to charge you with a crime you did or did not commit.
Police are great at asking confusing or ambiguous questions to get you to say something they can ultimately use against you. That is why you should never agree to speak with them without first consulting with your attorney and having them present during the questioning. Here are some other reasons why you should not talk to law enforcement.
- The officers may accidentally or intentionally misunderstand what you said.
- You may admit to knowing some information pertaining to a crime, which can be used to prove your involvement.
- If you, for some reason, accidentally or intentionally lie to the police during the questioning, you may be put under suspicion. Lying to the police will also greatly affect your credibility with the judge or jury.
- Investigators may put words into your mouth and claim that you made incriminating statements when you really did not.
- Even if you feel you are guilty of committing a crime, there is no need to confess right away. Your criminal defense attorney may be able to find flaws or errors in the prosecution’s case that can be effective in reducing or dismissing your charges.
- Only the prosecutor has the authority to make deals or give you leniency. The police do not. So, don’t buy into their claim that if you talk, they will give you a deal.
But What If You Are Innocent?
Most people think that if they are innocent, they can explain themselves to the officer and set the record straight. That is simply not true. Even if you believe you are innocent, facts can be misconstrued. You may accidentally say the wrong thing and have it used against you at a later time.
Again, detectives are trained to obtain confessions and admissions and find inconsistencies in your statement. Even if you are innocent, law enforcement officers can use any inconsistencies they find as evidence of guilt.
Police know you have the right to remain silent and that doing so does not automatically make you look guilty. Officers must respect your right to decline to answer their questions, so don’t feel any pressure or obligation to speak with them.
What You Should Do If Law Enforcement Wants to Talk to You
Although you are not legally obligated to answer their questions or provide details about what happened, you do need to provide basic information. Be sure to provide details, such as your name, where you live, and what your phone number is. However, you must remember to politely and respectfully decline their requests to divulge any other information.
Protect Your Rights. Call Maverick Ray & Associates Today
If you are facing criminal charges, the last thing you should do is speak with the officers. To protect your rights, decline to talk with law enforcement and immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Houston. The legal team at Maverick Ray & Associates knows all of the tactics used by officers and understands that their ultimate goal is to make an arrest. We can handle all communication with law enforcement, ensuring you don’t say or do something that will hurt your case. Contact our law firm online or call (281) 672-8029 to schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation with one of our top Houston criminal defense lawyers.