It’s human nature to want to defend yourself. Most people can’t resist trying to explain their conduct to police when confronted with questioning. The urge to confess or the need to talk your way out of trouble is irresistible. The police know this and take advantage of it every day.
What a person does when they speak to police during questioning is to establish their story for the remainder of the case. A statement to police ties your hands to that statement forever. If your statement changes later on, the change will be used against you. Your statement will be presented to the jury, but only if it hurts you. That’s right, only statements that make you look guilty will be used by the prosecutor. This may sound incredible, but there are rules that usually stop the defense from using statements which you made that support your innocence. So, when faced with the decision to talk to police, keep quiet. If you incriminate yourself, it will be used against you. If you make a statement that makes you look good, the chances are the jury will never hear it.
Police are trained to use a variety of psychological tactics to get a confession by almost any means necessary. Even more troubling is the fact that it is actually legal for police to lie about finding evidence, false witness accounts, and virtually anything else that they think will get a suspect to confess. These psychological scare tactics are so powerful that police have even extracted confessions from innocent people.
Using Your Right to Remain Silent
If you’re speaking with a police officer, FBI agent or state trooper, and you feel that you could be tricked into saying something that could be held against you later in a court of law, then don’t be afraid to claim your right to remain silent. By telling authorities “I will remain silent and would like to get a lawyer,” you can halt the verbal assault from officials. This right can be exercised while in interrogation, on the street or in your home. The right to remain silent also protects non-citizen immigrants as well.
These simple words invoke your given rights to avoid saying something that could be viewed as incriminating, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. While the right to remain silent is tricky, uttering this phrase and consulting a criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas immediately could save you a lot of headaches in a court room or interrogation room.
How Can Your Right to Remain Silent Incriminate You?
The issue of silence as evidence arose in a vehicular manslaughter case, The People v. Tom., Richard Tom broadsided a vehicle in California, which took the life of a passenger in the other car. Throughout his sentencing and prior to the case, Tom refused to speak on the issue. The prosecutors against him used his silence to get him convicted, maintaining that his refusal to speak out indicated his lack of remorse. When the court issued a guilty verdict, Tom decided to appeal.
The Supreme Court of California rejected Tom’s appeal on the grounds that those exercising their right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment must voice their intention to remain silent, as decided by a U.S. Supreme Court case, Salinas v. Texas. Since Tom made no indication that he was using his Fifth Amendment right, his silence was valid evidence against him. The dissenting opinion was concerned that the implications of the verdict may carry too much weight in the future.
It does not make sense to talk to the police. If asked to make a statement, invoke your right to remain silent. If you are facing criminal charges and need effective representation, call Gabriel L. Grasso at 702-868-886.