I cannot tell you how many times I sit down to speak with prospective clients and learn they have already, without the benefit of an attorney, spoken with the police. As a criminal defense attorney, I can tell you this: nothing sinks a case faster than a “voluntary” confession by one of my clients.
Police officers are trained “experts” in interrogations. They go to school for hours or days to learn techniques aimed at getting people to talk to them. Courts have ruled that police can lie to people they are talking with in order to get information. Why in the world would anyone suspected of a crime speak to police? The answer is simple: People think they can help themselves! I’m here to tell you: It ain’t so.
After voluntarily talking to the police, potential clients sometimes come to me and say: “I wasn’t given my Miranda rights, so my statements can’t be used against me, right? Well…no, not right. If you voluntarily speak with the police, you are likely not “in custody” for the purposes of Miranda and the police don’t even need to warn you what you say can be used against you!
In future posts, I’ll be discussing what it means, legally, to be “in custody” for the purposes of Miranda as well as the 3 levels of police citizen encounters. The take away for today is: You will not help yourself by speaking with law enforcement; you will only hurt your chances down the line.
If the police say they want to talk with you, you need to contact an attorney before making the oftentimes life-altering, case-destroying, decision to talk! Remember: Everything you say WILL be used against you!