As a crime attorney, I am often faced with a situation where my client has voluntarily given a statement to the police, and later claims that he was never given his Miranda rights. Although it depends on the circumstances surrounding the questioning, if a person is contacted by the police and voluntarily answers questions by the police, but remains silent during some of the questions, the silence can be used against him in criminal proceedings. In 2013, the United States Supreme Court decided that a person has to specifically invoke his right to remain silent in order for the 5th Amendment right to be recognized. That’s why you should ALWAYS contact a crime attorney before ever answering questions by law enforcement.
A Crime Attorney Will Always Advise You to Specifically Invoke Your Rights – Salinas v. Texas
In Salinas v. Texas, the defendant was contacted by police regarding a murder. The defendant was never placed in custody and never given his Miranda warnings prior to voluntarily answering some questions by the police. When the police asked if his shotgun would match ballistics testing of the shell casings found at the scene of the murder, the defendant didn’t answer the question and sat their silent, “looked down at the floor, shuffled his feet, bit his bottom lip, clenched his hands in his lap, and began to tighten up.” During his jury trial, the prosecutor stated that the defendant’s silence and reaction to the police officer’s question implied he was in fact guilty. The Supreme Court decided that because the defendant did not specifically state that he wanted to invoke his right to remain silent, the prosecutor could use his silence and reaction against him. As unfair as this is, it is the current state of the law.
A Crime Attorney Advises of Steps to Take to Protect Your Right to Remain Silent
1. NEVER talk to any law enforcement officer who is investigating a crime before talking to a criminal defense attorney.
Most people who are being accused of a crime mistakenly believe that if they just explain their side of the story or cooperate with a police investigation, they will avoid criminal charges or be given leniency. An experienced crime attorney knows this is not the case! Even if a police officer tells you that it will help you to tell your side of the story, DON’T believe him. Police officers notoriously lie to suspects (which they can legally do) in order to get a statement out of them. They will say things like, “your DNA was found at the scene and you need to explain why” within hours of the alleged incident. Anyone who is familiar with DNA testing knows that it is impossible to get DNA results within hours of a crime occurring.
2. If you are contacted by the police, get their phone number and tell them your crime attorney will call them back…then immediately hire a criminal defense lawyer.
Police officers know that a statement from a suspect can help make the case. When an attorney gets involved in the investigation phase of a criminal case, it can benefit the soon to be defendant during the criminal proceedings. An attorney can start preparing a defense well in advance, and possibly avoid any charges being filed if she is able to meet with the investigator. For example, I recently had a client being accused of investment fraud. The detective contacted my client wanting a statement. Before a statement was given, my client hired me to run interference. The detective agreed to meet with me and I asserted my client’s innocence stating I had documentation showing my client was innocent. When I asked the detective to include the documentation in his report, he refused to do so. I then sent a certified letter to the detective accusing him of a biased investigation, stated he was not trying to obtain all of the relevant information that should be given to the reviewing prosecutor before charges are requested. It’s been almost 2 years, and no charges have been filed yet.
If you or someone you know is currently under investigation, don’t hesitate to contact an criminal defense attorney to immediately assist you. For more information, contact crime attorney Karren Kenney at the Kenney Legal Defense Corporation at (855) 505-5588. Or contact us on the web.