Being questioned by the police is never a comfortable experience. The law gives policemen the authority to stop and question citizens in order to perform their duty to protect and to serve the community. Likewise, the law gives citizens certain rights and responsibilities when they face police questioning. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you better understand these rights:
A) The Right to Remain Silent
The police have the power to approach you and ask you questions. This is true regardless of your guilt or innocence, or whether they intend to arrest you or not. However, with very few exceptions, you have no legal obligation to answer.
While you are encouraged to cooperate with the police as much as possible, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution gives you the right to remain silent. It may be wise to remain silent for the following reasons:
1. Anything you say can be used against you in court.
2. There is the chance that what you say may be recalled inaccurately or distorted in order to be used against you.
3. By talking to the police, you risk the admission of guilt without any benefit in return. If you admit to guilt too soon, you may lose your chance to secure a plea bargain, if indeed you need to do so.
4. Even if you are innocent, what you say may incriminate you.
To invoke your right to remain silent, stay calm and simply state clearly that you do not want to answer the questions. Repeat this as many times as necessary. An advisable next step is to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as you have the opportunity to do so.
B) The Right to Be Free From Unreasonable Searches or Seizures
The police are not likely to remind you that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. In effect, you have the right to deny the police the permission to search your body, home, vehicle or property, unless they are authorized by the courts to do so.
Unless the officer presents a court-authorized search warrant, you can refuse to consent to any search of your body, home, vehicle or property, even if they insist. All you have to do is say “no.” Make it clear that you do not consent to being searched and repeat it as many times as you feel necessary. Then, it would be wise to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Stay Calm and Cooperate
Whether you are stopped to be questioned or searched, it is important to remain calm and cooperate as much as possible without answering any questions or assisting the police in their search.
Under no circumstances should you lie to the police, become belligerent or interfere physically with their search. If you do so, you may face harsher consequences, despite being innocent of any wrongdoing previously. A knowledgable criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the stress of a police investigation.
Knowing your rights and responsibilities when you face police questioning equips you to deal with a rather unnerving experience. Stay calm and cooperate, but remember to invoke your right to remain silent and to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. For greater insight into your rights, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Confidential Consultation: Claremore Criminal Defense Attorney
When there’s so much at stake, it’s crucial that you speak with a skilled Claremore criminal defense lawyer at Wirth Law Office – Claremore. For a free consultation with a knowledgeable Claremore defense attorney, call (918) 213-0950 today. If you prefer e-mail, send a Claremore criminal defense attorney your question by using the form at the right side of this page.