I’m Innocent. So Why Shouldn't I Talk to the Police?
March 21, 2023
If you have been arrested, it is important to know your rights. You are entitled to certain privileges and protections when questioned by the police, and understanding these can help you protect yourself as you navigate the criminal justice system.
After your arrest, it is imperative that you understand your rights and know how to protect yourself. As a criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Thomas W. Martin, LLC, I represent individuals accused of committing crimes in Fort Collins, Colorado, and throughout Weld and Larimer Counties. I can represent you during any police questioning to ensure that your rights are protected and you are getting fair treatment.
Your Rights When Questioned
By understanding your rights after an arrest, you can ensure that your rights are not violated and that proper procedures are followed.
1. Your Right to Remain Silent
When arrested, one of the most important things to remember is that you have the right to remain silent. This means that no matter what questions the police officers ask or how persistent they may be, you do not have to answer any questions or provide any information until a lawyer is present. Even if the officer suggests that it will “help” your case to answer questions, it is best to politely decline and wait for legal advice before proceeding with any questioning.
2. Your Right to an Attorney
Another right that you hold after an arrest is a right to legal representation. It is always beneficial to inform law enforcement that you would like an attorney present during questioning. Even if a lawyer cannot be immediately provided, officers must still cease all questioning until legal representation arrives.
3. Your Right Against Unlawful Search & Seizure
In addition to having a right against self-incrimination (remaining silent) and a right to counsel (legal representation), another protection afforded after an arrest is freedom from unlawful search and seizure. This means that law enforcement must obtain a warrant before searching through your personal items or seizing evidence from your property unless they are given explicit permission by either yourself or someone else who has authority over those items/property (such as a landlord).
Reasons Not to Speak to a Police Officer
Even if you think you are innocent, there are a few reasons why you shouldn’t talk to a police officer after your arrest. These include:
Reason 1: Talking to the Police Will Not Help
Police officers may sometimes ask questions in order to get more information or build their case against the suspect. However, talking to the police will not help your situation in any way. In fact, it could make matters worse as anything said can be used against you in court. It is best not to answer any questions posed by the police until after consulting with an attorney and understanding all of your legal options.
Reason 2: You Could Say Something That Would Be Used Against You
Even if you have been wrongfully accused of a crime, it is possible that anything said during a conversation with a police officer could be used to convict you. Even if you think that something said was off-the-record or couldn't possibly be used as evidence, keep in mind that it most likely will be used as such anyway. Therefore, it is best not to talk about the details of your case at all - even if you are innocent - until after speaking with an attorney who can advise on what needs to be said and when.
What to Do and Say After an Arrest
It is important to know what you should do and say after an arrest so that your rights are respected and you are treated fairly by the police.
Do not use force. It is important to remember that no matter the circumstances of your arrest, it is never acceptable to use force in response. It is illegal to physically resist arrest or threaten an officer with physical force. Even if you feel wrongfully accused, it is not wise to act out in any way—that could lead to additional charges being added on top of the ones you already face.
Politely decline to answer the police officer’s questions. When questioned by law enforcement officers, it is critical that you refuse to answer any questions without a lawyer present. Politely decline any questions until legal counsel has been provided or obtained. Your silence should be courteous but firm—you are under no obligation whatsoever to answer any questions posed by law enforcement officers at this stage of the proceedings.
Say that you want to invoke your right to remain silent when questioned. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees all individuals the right against self-incrimination when interrogated by police officers or other law enforcement agents. As such, informing law enforcement officers that you wish to invoke your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination is vital during questioning and in some cases can even prevent further interrogation from taking place until you speak to a lawyer.
Say that you want to invoke your right to legal representation. The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees all individuals the right to legal representation when charged with a crime or otherwise under suspicion of criminal activity. As such, informing law enforcement officers that you wish to invoke your Sixth Amendment right for legal representation prior to further questioning is vital for protecting your rights against self-incrimination and ensuring fair treatment throughout the process.
Knowing what steps one must take in order to remain polite and cooperative while also exercising their civil liberties can ensure the best possible outcome during this stressful and time-sensitive process.
Experienced Guidance Every Step of the Way
If you were arrested, you shouldn’t talk to the police because giving statements to law enforcement after your arrest could make your situation worse, even if you believe you are innocent. As a criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Thomas W. Martin, LLC, I can help you navigate this difficult time and ensure that your rights are protected during police questioning. Contact me today to get a case review.