You have a right to remain silent in the United States when you are being investigated or charged with a crime. Invoke this right- – always! There is no exception to the “golden rule.”
More people are convicted of crimes (and yes innocent people too) because they have decided to speak to the police, and did so without an attorney. In my years of experience as a prosecutor and defense attorney, this stems from 3 basic misconceptions.
- People feel they can fool or outwit the police;
- People are frightened and believe speaking to them and being honest will help them;
- They feel that if they do not speak to the police they will “look guilty.”
The fact is that speaking to the police will never help you. If it is appropriate to speak to the police, do so with an attorney present.
Sometimes the police will tell you that if you speak to them, they will go “easier” on you. They will offer you promises and inducements of more leniency. This too is wrong, and they have no authority to make these promises.
Only the prosecution can offer you a better “deal” or leniency. You may also lose the benefits you actually could have received from the prosecution had you remained silent and allowed your attorney to work with the prosecution to determine exactly what leniency you would receive for speaking to them.
I have prosecuted and defended thousands of cases in my career. The simple fact is that most times the best evidence came from the mouth of the defendant! Many times the police were on a fishing expedition and the defendant provided the very evidence that sealed their fate. And, many times the defendant thought that they were not really saying anything significant, but later, the statement in combination with some other evidence took a seemingly unimportant statement and turned it into a major piece of damning evidence.
The nuances in this area of law are complex, but the Golden Rule is simple.
Invoke your right to remain silent at all costs, and immediately follow that up with a request for an attorney.
Regardless if you are innocent or guilty of the crime investigated, this Golden Rule should always be followed.
© 2015 Robert A Bianchi Esq.