What to Do if You are Under Investigation
The most devastating evidence in a criminal case is the defendant’s own self-incriminating words . The officers realize this and employ all kinds of tricks to make a suspect say self-incriminating things. The law requires that when a person ask for a lawyer or decides to remain silent, the interrogator MUST CEASE the interrogation.
Although most will honor your request, some officers will ignore your rights and keep interrogating. No matter how great pressure they put on you, STOP TALKING!
Following are some offensive and unfair techniques that I have witnessed over the years. By no means is it an exclusive list. When you face interrogation such as this, JUST SAY, “I WANT A LAWYER!”
2. An officer invites you into their office, thanks you, tells you that you are free to leave, and that you are not in custody. If you are not under arrest or in custody, an officer should not have any problem if you leave.
3. An officer tells you that you are brave and righteous for defending yourself. This is a bluff. The officer is not admiring your bravery, but attempting to have you say something self-incriminating.
4. An officer first asks you about your address, birthday, and the name of high school you graduated from, etc. This is one of many techniques to make you feel comfortable so that you may say something self-incriminating later.
5. An officer offers you hospitality-drink or food-and begins to ask you questions. Do not be a sucker for a diet soda.
6. An officer tells you that he found your “Penis DNA,” “Finger DNA,” or “Vagina DNA” or “whatever DNA.” The bold ones will even say that they found your DNA on the alleged victim’s clothing. Listen- It is a bluff! If he found your DNA on alleged victim’s clothing, then he does not need your statements. Do not help an officer to build a stronger case against you.
7. An officer asks you a question similar to, “If we test the victim’s clothes, will your DNA be on it?”, or “If I ask ‘Witness A’, why would he say he saw you at the crime scene?” This is a complete bluff! It is just their attempt to see your reaction.
8. Officer reads your rights, which begins, “You have a right to remain silent…” Accept this literally. You do have a right to shut up and not say a thing to them.
9. Then the officer continues and says, “You have a right to an attorney and if you cannot afford one, the court will appoint you one.” This is correct. You do have a right to an attorney, even if you are not a millionaire. This is when you should say, “I want a lawyer and do not wish to make a single statement!”
10. An officer asks you to consent to a search of your person or residence. Just say, “No. Go and get a search warrant!”
11. An officer accosts you on the street, and asks in a very polite manner if you have a moment to speak to him. The U.S. Supreme Court opinion states that you have a right to say “no” and walk away, and feel no compunction about it.
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Know your rights. Don’t make these mistakes when you are charged with a crime.