Whether under arrest or just being detained for questioning you have several Constitutional rights that you may invoke to protect you from self-incrimination. You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions put to you by the police with the exception of identifying yourself. You have the right to say no to searches of your person, property, car or home. You have the right to refuse to submit to field sobriety tests at traffic stops as well as preliminary breath tests. Unfortunately the police are very skilled in intimidating, coercing and deceiving suspects by telling them that it will go harder on them if they don’t cooperate or give a statement. The fact is that if you do cooperate the outcome will be the same except they will have more usable evidence against you.
You have the right to have an attorney during
questioning and to consult with your attorney before speaking to the police.
Exercise that right. Attorneys are not intimidated by the police and the police
know they can’t get away with the same tactics they might otherwise use to
obtain a suspects statements. In fact, usually when an attorney is involved the
police will give up their efforts to continue questioning a suspect or in
attempting to get permission to search. Remember, your attorney has your best
interest in mind, the police don’t.
Remember, your statements can be used against you and
even be manipulated to sound worse than what you intended. Your permission can
lead to searches and seizures of evidence that might otherwise not have been
legally obtained or used against you. There is an old saying to remember when
dealing with the police. “The fish that keeps his mouth shut never gets a hook
in it.” Don’t be the one to end up in the frying pan!
Updates in the Law by Michael S. Davis