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Police Investigation? Know Your Rights
October 9, 2013
Facing a police investigation can be one of the most frightening and confusing experiences that a person can have. It can be easy to forget that in the United States anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty.
It is important to remember that the rights of people who are being investigated by the police are under constitutional protection. By keeping this fact in mind, anyone who is facing a criminal investigation can better prepare themselves for the events to come. A few additional steps can help with the preparation of a legal defense.
Know Your Rights
The most important part of any legal defense is the defendant’s knowledge of his or her rights. It is from this knowledge that all other aspects of the defense are created. Knowing one’s rights during a police investigation is critical. Some examples:
Right to an attorney: Anyone being investigated by the police has the right to legal counsel. The first step that a person should take when they find themselves facing a criminal investigation is to hire the most experienced criminal defense attorney available.
Right to remain silent: Nearly everyone who is being made the subject of a criminal investigation will be read the Miranda warnings, including the right to remain silent. It is possible for the police to question someone without reading the Miranda warnings but any evidence gained from such questioning can be ruled inadmissible in court. In short, if someone is told by the police that they have the right to remain silent, they should act on that right and say nothing other than “I want to speak to my attorney” until they are allowed to do so.
Know the Facts
It is also important for people to know the truth about police investigations. In reality, these investigations do not play out the way they do on TV or in the movies. It’s crucial for people to know:
Police investigators want convictions: The primary purpose of a police investigation is to close a case with a conviction. The investigators do not want to be friends with the subject of the investigation or help them. Investigators may try to use intimidating language or try to catch people off-guard in order to obtain incriminating statements or confessions.
Interviews can be terminated: Although investigators may say otherwise, it is not mandatory to participate in a police interview. Interviews can be terminated at any time for any reason. If a person feels uncomfortable with the interview, they can request an attorney and terminate the interview immediately.
There are more facts to know about police investigations that are best discussed with an experienced attorney.