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Is it ever a good idea for criminal suspects to talk to the police?
Persons detained by the police for suspected criminal activity should never give a statement. Whether you are being detained for a simple traffic violation or for a serious crime, do not make a statement. You should always invoke your right to remain silent.
1. Do the police always have to read people their Miranda rights?
No. The majority of the public thinks the police must advise them of their Miranda rights before questioning them. This is not true.
There are numerous exceptions to the Miranda rule, and the Supreme Court is slowly eroding the Miranda ruling. Remember, the police are not your friend if you are suspected of a criminal act. Nothing good will come from giving a voluntary statement.
2. What should a person do if arested?
If you are placed under arrest, you should never give up your right to remain silent. Invoke your right and demand for an attorney to be present.
The officers will play mind games with you and tell you that the District Attorney will go easy on you if you tell the truth.
I have also seen officers play on a suspect’s religious beliefs by saying, “Do you believe in God? God forgives everyone.”
If they have not placed you under arrest, the officer often will say he doesn’t want to arrest you, but he will have to unless you provide a statement.
If they have enough evidence, they will arrest you regardless of whether or not you give a statement. Please do not make a conviction easy for them by providing a statement that may incriminate you.
They will try to use any slight inconsistency against you. Even if you are completely innocent of the crime, you should always invoke your right to remain silent and demand to speak to an attorney.
I have seen numerous defendants get convicted by giving a statement. Many of these cases would have never been filed by the prosecutor if the defendant had just remained silent.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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