Facing arrest can be an intimidating process. Whether you were pulled over while driving or there was a misunderstanding at home, it can be a stressful situation.
It is very common to panic during police questioning. It can seem like a difficult line to both be polite and stand up for your rights.
Here are the five most common mistakes people make when talking to the police.
Not insisting on talking to an attorney
As soon as possible, you should request to talk to an attorney. If officers are still attempting to ask questions, you should state that you will remain silent until you can consult with a lawyer about your case.
When you are under arrest and officers tell you that you have the “right to remain silent,” it is a statement you should take seriously. It can be tempting to think you can talk your way out of an arrest.
While an attorney can help you give the right statements in court, once you say something to the police, it can be difficult to take it back.
Consenting to a search
Most of the time, officers need a warrant to conduct a search of your personal property. One time that police do not need a warrant is if you agree to the search.
Agreeing to a search may seem like the polite thing to do. Still, when you consent to a search, the officer does not have to specify what they are looking for, and they have virtually no limits to where they can look.
Your right to remain silent protects you from any statement you might make that would incriminate you. Typically, officers will give the Miranda Warning (or “Mirandize” you) if they intend to question you about an alleged crime.
While there are circumstances when officers can delay Mirandizing you, it is still typically best to tell the officer you want to exercise your right to remain silent whether they have given the Miranda Warning or not.
Not talking to an attorney
A skilled lawyer can help you understand the charges against you and what you should (or should not) say to the police. Also, an attorney can be with you for police questioning.
Facing criminal charges can be complex and confusing. It is essential to have the support of an experienced professional.