If you come under criminal investigation, the way that you interact with the police can have a tremendous impact on what ultimately happens to you. In fact, a lot of convictions are obtained by what an accused individual may think is nothing more than a statement to alleviate suspicions. This is because investigators are sly, and they know how to set traps to get you talking and obtain the evidence that they need to achieve a conviction.
So, what can you do to protect your interests? Your best bet is to utilize your Miranda rights. A lot of people don’t fully understand what those rights entail, which is why you need to educate yourself if you want to make sure that you don’t get tripped up by the police and accidentally step into a trap that leaves you subject to criminal conviction.
Understanding your right to remain silent
One of the biggest protections provided to you through your Miranda rights is your right to remain silent. You are not, under any circumstances, required to talk to the police. In fact, you have Constitutional protections against self-incrimination. Yet, a lot of people fail to take advantage of the right to remain silent because they feel compelled to talk to law enforcement.
This pressure can come in many forms. For example, the police might lie to you by telling you that they have evidence against you or that someone saw you at the scene of the crime, or they may say that talking to them is the best way to avoid harsh penalties. But you don’t have to talk, and you really shouldn’t do so unless you have an attorney by your side.
Your right to an attorney
You also have a right to an attorney any time you’re being interrogated by the police. While the state might assign a public defender to you if you qualify for one, you also have the ability to reach out to a private criminal defense attorney who might be better suited to provide you with the zealous defense that you need.
So, as you’re being questioned by the police, never be afraid to ask to talk to an attorney. In fact, that should probably be your first go-to when you’re approached by the police. Remember, you’re innocent until proven guilty, so don’t be concerned about the common perception that asking for an attorney makes you look like you have something to hide.
When you should be informed of your Miranda rights
Although you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney at many junctures in a criminal investigation, the police aren’t necessarily required to advise you of these rights. Instead, they only have to give you a Miranda warning, which advises you of your rights, if you’re being subjected to custodial interrogation. This occurs when the police hold you for questioning and you’re unable to leave of your own volition.
Don’t be taken advantage of during your criminal case
A criminal conviction can wreak havoc in your life. It can result in jail or prison time, which may be frightening enough, but it can also leave you facing collateral consequences that can touch nearly every aspect of your life.
That’s why as soon as you’re looped into a criminal investigation, you might want to think about reaching out to an attorney for assistance. With a legal advocate by your side, you’ll be better positioned to protect your interests, which very well could make the difference in your case and shield your future from the harsh penalties against you.