What should you do if you are suspected of criminal activity?
- Remember you have the right to remain silent. A significant number of prosecutions for crimes hinge on the defendant’s own statements. You have no obligation to respond to law enforcement interrogations or questioning. However, routine questions such as your name, age, driver’s license are not interrogations. Staying silent includes on jail house phones, to other inmates, or any other person except your attorney. Keeping your mouth shut, no matter if the police tell you otherwise, will make it easier on yourself down the road. SIMPLY STATE THAT YOU DO NOT WISH TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS AND YOU WILL NOT MAKE ANY STATEMENT WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY PRESENT.
- You have the right to have an attorney present for any interrogation. ASK FOR AN ATTORNEY BEFORE YOU SAY ANYTHING ELSE. It might mean staying in jail a day or two longer, but it may help keep you out for much longer periods of time.
- DO NOT CONSENT TO SEARCHES OF YOUR PERSONAL BELONGINGS, CAR, or HOME. Request that law enforcement get a warrant.
- Seek professional legal assistance from a licensed attorney. The internet is great for many things, but pretending to be a lawyer isn’t one of them. Call this law office, or the State Bar for referral to another qualified attorney.
- BE RESPECTFUL. More and more citizens are shot or killed by police officers each year. Being right, being tough, or being a smart-ass isn’t worth a beating or your life. Law enforcement is a thank-less job, but being respectful, even if while being wrongfully accused will get your further than being antagonistic or rude.