I do not want to engage in drafting a treatise on the constitutional basis for one’s right to remain silent when he or she is detained or arrested by the cops. They know you have that right and they, no doubt, know a lot more about the law than you do. So, just tell them you want to talk with a lawyer first. They have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime with which they are about to charge you. They know the elements required by the law to prove you are guilty — that is precisely their job under these circumstances, to build a case against you. They have you in custody and they have the right to interrogate you, if you agree to talk to them and to waive your rights to remain silent or have a lawyer with you. They can “lead” you into saying things they can use to make a Judge or jury believe you are guilty. As a matter of fact, you may think that they will not lie to you – they legally can in these circumstances and often will. You may think they are your friends and are just trying to help you – they are not your friends and are simply trying to build a case and find facts to use against you at court. Don’t get me wrong – police officers are often great people. But, if you are in custody in an arrest investigation and they are asking you questions about an alleged crime, it is not likely that they are doing it as your friends or neighbors or some uninterested bystander. They are more likely doing the job they are paid to do which is to gather evidence to be used against you.
They also know that you have the right to remain silent and are obligated to respect your request to do so and must end any further communications with you once you tell them that. Additionally, if you simply and courteously tell a police officer that you either have an attorney or that you want to consult with an attorney about the matters involved, no discussions by the officers with you about these matters, or effort to do so, is legally permissible and you will be allowed to contact your attorney or retain an attorney. Or, if you cannot afford an attorney, you will be informed of how to proceed and have one appointed for you.
It is our practice to advise clients not to discuss their alleged commission of any criminal acts with police officers or prosecutors at any point in any procedure involving custody, arrest or events possibly leading up to that. Just remain calm and courteous and assert your right to remain silent. Your attorney will advise you if circumstances occur warranting a change in your position.
If you would like to work with one of our experienced Attorneys, please call Owens & Perkins, Attorneys at Law at (480) 994-8824 to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.