In the United States, police officers may use any statements they hear as evidence in a criminal trial. However, everyone has Miranda rights that provide protections against self-incrimination if the individual is arrested and in a custodial setting. So when an individual is arrested, the police are required to let the individual know what their Miranda Rights are. Police officers are required to tell the individual that:
1. You have the right to remain silent;
2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law;
3. You have a right to an attorney;
4. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for you
With that said, if the individual then makes any statements, those statements may be used as evidence against them at trial. So the important lesson here is don’t say anything other than your name and address. Then say you don’t want to say anything until you have a lawyer. Once said, the police have to stop all questioning until your lawyer is present. If you do not have a lawyer, tell the police that you do not want to answer any questions or make any statements until you have one and are in his/her presence. If you already have a lawyer, notify the police that you are represented by an attorney and that you do not want to speak out of his/her presence.
What You Should Do
There is a very strong urge to give as much information to the police when questioned especially when you know that you’re innocent. You think that by helping the police and giving as much information as you can, it will help you into their good graces so they’ll let you go. But be aware that a basic police function is to investigate and solve crimes. Any person may be a source of information and what you say, although innocently, may lead them to believe you are a suspect.
Always be aware that anything you say in police hearing can be used against you even if the Miranda Warning has not been given. For instance, statements you make while in the squad car, or statements you make while speaking to another cellmate or statements made while making a telephone call at the police station can be used as evidence. You shouldn’t answer any questions or make any statements without a lawyer present to protect your rights. So if you have any useful information that may help your case, tell them to your lawyer who will help you to know what to say and what not to say.
Call the Kushner Law Group. With years of experience defending our clients in the courts of New York State and the Federal Courts, the Kushner Law Group has the knowledge base and strategies to defend your rights.