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You must identify yourself. Deny crimes you are falsely accused of. Request the presence of your attorney. State clearly that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent. You would be happy to cooperate and provide whatever information is appropriate - but only after consulting your attorney.

Your Right to Remain Silent


This might be your most important issue ...

  • You have the right to remain silent.

  • It is critical to your defense that you exercise that right.

  • Whatever you say will be used against you in ways that are not now apparent.

  • You must identify yourself.

  • Deny crimes you are falsely accused of.

  • Request the presence of your attorney.

  • State clearly that wish to exercise your right to remain silent.

  • You would be happy to cooperate and provide whatever information is appropriate - but only after consulting your attorney.

 

  • IMPORTANT:  On June 17, 2013 our United States Supreme Court limited our understanding of this right.  It used to be that law enforcement could not use your silence against you.  This Court stated that right only comes after you are in custody or you are given Miranda warnings.  This Court removed a significant protection for those who have not yet sought counsel and who don't understand the ruling.

     

    • If you are not under arrest you must specifically state that your refusal to participate is due to your having a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

 

    • So far, this Court has not overturned the idea that the right to remain silent, now once you preface your comments by quoting "Fifth Amendment", covers both your right not to speak both because:

      • First:  The right to not incriminate yourself;

      • Second:  The right to not say something that will, undoubtedly, used against you even though you are innocent.

         

  • Click here for a copy of the opinion.

 

An example ...

Let me give you an example of why you need to be silent.  You are stopped driving down an interstate highway.  The officer approaches and states you were speeding.  She says, "Where you going in such a hurry?"  You say, "I'm just heading home."

You though you answered the officer's question as to where you were going.  What you really did was admit, probably while the officer was making a video and audio recording, that you were in a hurry.  That video and audio will be played at your trial.  The question is obvious:  "You admitted to being in a hurry, didn't you?"

The cops can and will lie, and the lies can be outrageous

In my blog, I report a case where the cops managed to get a person to cooperate and provide evidence against himself by telling a father that his baby was dying.  There is no limit to what a cop can do to get you to talk.  The first and most often used is when the cop says, "We aren't going to charge you!"  My reply:  Bull!  They are lying and will charge you the minute you admit guilt or the minute they can trick you into sound like you admitted guilt, even though you are not guilty.

The blog can be found HERE.

 


Questions

 

Question:  Do I have to answer every question the Police ask me?

Answer: You have the right to remain silent except that you are required to tell the police your name and identify yourself.

Unless you mention the FIFTH AMENDMENT, the cops can use your silence against you.

Question:  How important is it that I invoke my right to remain silent?

Answer: Along with the rights to trial by jury and to have counsel defend you, the right to remain silent is critically important because anything that you say can and will be used against you even before you hire an attorney or you have a trial. Sometimes people are guilty of committing a crime but is difficult for the State's prosecutor to prove it.  This can change though if you offer up incriminating statements or if you implicate yourself in the crime.  Saying things might get you charged with crimes you did not commit. For example, if the police stop you and ask you “Where you are coming from?” and you tell them “From John's house.” If John was just murdered in his house, you have just made yourself a prime suspect in the case of John's murder.

UNLESS you mention the FIFTH AMENDMENT, the cops can use your silence against you.

Question:  But the police will be angry if I do not cooperate with them, right?

Answer: Some police officers may be angry with you. Most police officers are professionals and will respect your right to remain silent. They may, however, try to trick you into offering up a statement by making small talk. It is important that you inform the police that you absolutely want to cooperate with them but you want to wait for your attorney to be present. DO NOT AGREE TO TALK TO THE POLICE UNTIL YOUR ATTORNEY ARRIVES! Once you invoke your right to counsel, to have your attorney present, the police must stop talking to you. Do not let yourself be made to believe that talking to an attorney before the police will hurt you in any possible way. The police want to talk to you without an attorney being present.

UNLESS you mention the FIFTH AMENDMENT, the cops can use your silence against you.

Question:  What do I do if the police request an interview with me, my spouse, or my child?

Answer: Again, always be polite to the police officers. They do have a job to do. However, you and your loved ones have rights to protect. If you have been asked by a police officer, investigator, or detective to come in to speak to them – even if it is off the record – contact your attorney first and ask your attorney to go with you or to advise you on the situation. I will always make myself available to a client for such an interview-but only if the interview is in their client's best interest.

UNLESS you mention the FIFTH AMENDMENT, the cops can use your silence against you.

Question:  There are police officers at my front door and they want to search my house, what do I do?

Answer: Remember to be polite to the police officers. Do not swear at them, yell at them, or make any statements of any type. Politely ask them for a copy of the search warrant.  They must have that in their possession.  If they have no warrant, politely say you will contact your attorney and then get back to them.  If they have a warrant they have to give you a copy.  DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING AN ATTORNEY. In most cases if the police officers have a search warrant you would already be in handcuffs, or the search warrant would have been presented to you. If this has happened you need my immediate legal representation. If the police do not have a search warrant politely decline their request to enter without first consulting with an attorney. I have years of dealing with the technicalities of searches.

UNLESS you mention the FIFTH AMENDMENT, the cops can use your silence against you.

Question:  Can the police lie to me when questioning me about a case?

Answer: Yes, absolutely, and it is likely they will. Police officers can lie to you about a case in order to get you to incriminate yourself. It is often considered good police work to distract you with a lie to get you to say things you might not otherwise say. One of the classic lies is that your co-criminal is going to “sing” (i.e.. give you up first) if you do not talk to the police and tell them your story. This is generally not true, but even if someone is going to give you up to the police it is still better to wait for your attorney. I have years of experience dealing with interviews.  I also know how these investigations take place and are supervised.

UNLESS you mention the FIFTH AMENDMENT, the cops can use your silence against you.

Question:  My friend tells me that I should just plea “no contest” to what I have been charged with, is this good advice?

Answer: In many or even most cases the answer is absolutely not. You should not enter any plea other than not guilty until you have had the opportunity to review all the evidence in the case and speak with an attorney. In fact, you should have an attorney from the very beginning of the process. It is my policy to meet with the prosecutors handling the case, speak with the police officers that investigated you, speak with and find all witnesses to the case, review the witnesses criminal record, review all documents relating to your case, review all scientific tests in your case before offering any advice on whether or not you should take a plea deal or proceed to trial. You should not be speaking with anyone other than your attorney about your case.  The prosecutors can subpoena your friends, boyfriends, girlfriend and others and make them give testimony about what you have told about your case. It is important to contact me.  I will meet you free of charge to discuss your case.  No one can force me to testify against you!

Another reason not to plead guilty without counsel is that you may not be familiar with the implication of the plea.  I am no longer surprised to receive a call from a defendant who has plead guilty to, say, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and did that without an attorney.  Not knowing about driving privileges, this person is most often needlessly caught and cited for driving under suspension.  Had I been consulted, I would have fought for necessary driving privileges to keep the person from that problem.  Another very common problem has to do with insurance.  If the box indicating you had insurance at the time you are stopped for traffic isn't properly marked, you end up with a Financial Responsibility Act suspension.  This is easily fixed if you have an attorney watching for such traps.

Question:  I was arrested by the police for selling drugs.  Now they want me to work with them and they promise to help me out, what should I do?

Answer: You should contact me as soon as possible to discuss the specifics of your case and whether or not it is in your best interests to work with the police. This is a common practice of many police officers.  They request that you wear a wire or conduct certain types of transactions on their behalf to help them arrest others in your situation. I have years of experience working with police officers involved in drug trafficking investigations and will gladly help establish a meeting with the police that is in your best interests.

Question:  I read the police report in my case and the police are lying!! The victim is lying!! What do I do?

Answer: You need immediate representation to defend yourself from any allegations that you know to be false. The sooner you do this the better. Do not let the police trick you into speaking by presenting you with false information. I have a great deal of experience sorting through what the truth is in a given case. After reviewing all the evidence with you I will be able to put you in a better situation to defend yourself and expose any lies that may have been made against you.

Question:  How do I set up an appointment?

Answer: Simple, you may contact me by calling (440) 777-1177. For emergency criminal matters you should dial and leave messages on both my office and cell phone numbers.

I understand that your life is very busy.  I will make every effort to meet with you anytime, day or night. For example, we can meet at 7:00 am before work, on a weekend, or at 8:00 pm in the evening.