When a law enforcement officer wants to speak with you, it’s important to understand your legal rights and why you should invoke your right to silence. Whether you are under investigation or have already been charged, law enforcement officers want you to talk because they want to obtain as much information as they can.
It’s crucial to know that while you should remain respectful with authorities, you have the right to remain silent. This a right protected by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which makes it clear individuals are protected from being compelled to be a witness against him / herself in criminal matters.
Why It’s Important to Not Talk to the Police
Unless you are a victim of a crime, it’s important to NOT speak with authorities without proper legal counsel and representation. By not speaking with law enforcement, you give them less information to use in their version of the facts and your involvement in a particular crime. This ultimately protects you and the options available in your defense, should criminal charges against you be formally filed.
It’s important to note that:
- Talking will not help you avoid an arrest. If law enforcement has probable cause to arrest you, then they will arrest you.
- By speaking, you risk making a confession or providing information that can be used to indict you, even unknowingly.
- Even if you feel that information being discussed is “harmless,” it is still in your best interests to invoke your Fight Amendment right.
Authorities Want You to Talk
The state or federal government can and often does use what you say against you. Law enforcement officers are trained at soliciting information that can prove helpful in supporting the government’s case against you, and they may employ tactics with several objectives in mind. Your words can also be interpreted in a way that is not accurate.
Here are a few important things to remember:
- Officers may mislead you into self-incrimination.
- What you say can be misunderstood, purposefully or unintentionally.
- Discussing knowledge of certain facts can be used to demonstrate your involvement or knowledge of a crime.
- Lying to a police officer can be considered suspicious, and may affect your credibility. Even if you are innocent, a few white lies or omissions could result in connecting you to a crime you did not commit.
- Officers at the scene or during initial contact don’t have the ability to “help you” or “give you a break.” Only a prosecutor has the ability to make deals.
- If you believe you are guilty, you should still not admit to guilt until all facts come to light. Certain circumstances may change and, without admissions, defense attorneys may have the opportunity to highlight errors in your case or raise questions that can be used in your favor during your defense.
The furthest you should go when being stopped or questioned by law enforcement should be to provide information about your identity. You can then politely decline to answer questions, invoke your right to remain silent, and contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you better understand the situation, what could possibly happen, and your available options.
Stopped, Investigated, or Charged? Call Our Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you or a loved one has had police contact or believe you soon might, remember the importance of your right to remain silent. You should also understand the importance of speaking with a reputable criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
At Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. our legal team has over a century of collective experience protecting the rights of individuals who are being investigated or who have been charged with crimes. Backed by insight gained handling thousands of criminal cases at both the state and federal level, our team is readily available to provide the counsel and representation you need during this time.
Were you stopped, investigated, or charged with a crime? If so, contact our award-winning Minneapolis criminal defense attorneys at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. as soon as you can. We are available 24/7 to help.