5 Reasons You Never Speak to Police Without a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer
In any encounter with police, the best strategy is cooperating with officers’ instructions and complying with two key words: Keep quiet. The primary reason for not making any statements or answering questions is that you disregard your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by allowing police to get information from you. Everything you say could be considered testimony and can be used against you in court, the exact scenario that this constitutional provision was intended to prevent.
However, aside from this general description of your right to remain silent, you should be familiar with the specific, underlying reasons you should avoid talking to police other than to confirm your identity. Your Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney can serve your legal needs more effectively when you understand the following.
- Mistakes can be catastrophic. If you are wrong or misspeak when making a statement to police, this information can still be introduced as evidence in court. You may have access to facts that disprove the mistake, but you could suffer the consequences if the mistake is taken as true by the jury.
- You might reveal too much. Even if you are innocent, you could inadvertently give police information that incriminates you. For instance, you can deny that you committed a crime, but in the same sentence admit to being near the scene. This information gives officers grounds to arrest you, though it may not be enough to obtain a conviction.
- Police officers have limited memory recall. When your trial date arrives and officers are on the stand testifying for the prosecution, they may not accurately remember what transpired at your arrest. If you say nothing, there is no risk that the limited memories of law enforcement will be an issue.
- Law enforcement cannot cut you a deal. No matter what they tell you in exchange for your answers to questions, police officers do not have the power to offer leniency. They cannot instruct prosecutors to seek lesser charges, reduce your punishment, or provide other attractive options.
- Talking will never help your case. From the above, you can see that there are no benefits of speaking to police without your attorney. Your best strategy is to keep quiet, NOT resist arrest, and make only one statement: “I would like to consult with my lawyer.” You may still need to answer questions with your attorney, but he or she will advise you during interrogation to protect your rights.
Consult with a Fort Lauderdale, FL Criminal Defense Lawyer FIRST
Though you may have the best of intentions when talking to law enforcement, it is more likely that you damage your case by making statements. Instead, the only time you should speak to officers is when you have counsel present to ensure you do not incriminate yourself. For more information, please contact the offices of attorney Kevin J. Kulik in Fort Lauderdale, FL to set up a consultation. We can advise you on your rights and represent you during questioning by police.