Nearly 30% of American adults have a criminal record. Being arrested and detained by members of law enforcement can be a very scary experience. Allowing the stress and worry of this situation to lead to bad decision-making can have long-term negative consequences. Whether you are guilty or innocent of the charges against you, playing your cards right can help you avoid making an already bad situation worse.
Dealing with a drug charge or avoiding a driving under the influence conviction will be much easier if you follow certain ground rules. Here are some things you need to remember if you are suspected of a crime.
Avoid Giving a Statement Without a Lawyer Present
One of the biggest mistakes people make when suspected or charged with a crime is giving a statement to law enforcement without a lawyer present. As soon as you are booked in your local jail, your first request should be to get a lawyer. This request should be polite yet firm. There have been many documented cases where confessions were coerced out of innocent people who lacked legal representation.
You need to realize that innocent people do go to jail. Instead of making statements that could potentially incriminate you and hurt your chances of getting your charges dismissed, you need a lawyer by your side. With the help of a legal professional, you can navigate these uncertain waters and avoid making matters worse. Ideally, you want to find a criminal defense lawyer to help you during this turbulent time.
Silence is Golden
If you are suspected of a crime you did commit, the worst thing you can do is start providing extraneous details to members of law enforcement. During a standard interrogation, the main goal a police officer has is to gather details that help them convict the person they are interviewing. When asked pointed questions that you don’t feel comfortable answering, you need to simply tell the office performing your interrogation that you want to avoid saying anything until your lawyer is present.
With your lawyer present, you can get advice on whether or not answering a particular question will incriminate you. If your lawyer feels like you should avoid answering the question, they may advise you to exercise your Fifth Amendment rights. This constitutional amendment provides citizens with the ability to refuse questions that could incriminate them.
Consenting to a Search is a Bad Idea
During the course of an investigation, a police officer may feel the need to search a person’s home or vehicle. If a member of law enforcement asks to search your property, you need to politely deny this request. Consenting to one of these searches causes you to give up some of your Constitutional rights.
If you find yourself in the midst of a criminal investigation, you need to find out more about your rights. The best way to do this is by consulting with legal professionals. If you are in need of legal representation, Empire Law is here to help.