Remaining silent is a right that should be exercised more often by people suspected of committing crimes, but unfortunately, people’s desire to explain themselves and tactics used by police oftentimes overcome a person’s better judgement. The best time to contact a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney is before you’ve talked to the police. In an ideal situation, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer even before you’re ever arrested.
The U.S. Constitution and the Florida Constitution, both, protect a person’s right against self-incrimination, meaning that a person can’t be forced to testify against himself or herself. In essence, a person cannot be forced to confess wrongdoing. These provisions are the source of the “Miranda” warnings that you often hear recited to suspects in crime dramas, such as “Law and Order”. The most prominent and important part of the warning is that the suspect has the right to remain silent; remaining silent is a great idea! For you protection, other than basic information like your name, etc, the only thing you should communicate with police about is your desire to have an attorney present.
Clients often think that there is no harm in speaking with an officer or a detective if the client has nothing to hide or hasn’t done anything wrong. The truth is that officers and detectives are searching for any information that can be used to solve the alleged crime, and a confession is the grand prize, even if you don’t realize you’ve confessed.
Police use tactics during questioning that are intended to get suspects to admit to wrongdoing. One method, referred to as the “1-2-3 Approach” described by Louis Senese, is a three part series of questioning that involves giving suspects options between a socially acceptable reason for committing the crime and one that isn’t socially acceptable. Responding incorrectly to questions could land you in the hot seat, and your “confession” will be used against you in court.
The absolute best thing to do is to exercise your constitutional right to remain silent. You can’t explain things away and make the police understand… so don’t try. Confessions can be pretty compelling evidence in front of a jury, but under some circumstances, your confession can be suppressed. The battle to keep out an unlawfully gained confession can involve heavy lifting that is best left to a knowledgeable and experienced litigator. Let an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney speak on your behalf or on behalf of a loved one in Duval, Clay, Nassau, and surrounding counties after an arrest. At the Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC, initial consultations with our Jacksonville criminal lawyer are free. Call today at (904) 685-1200 to schedule your free consultation.