If the police are investigating you regarding potential criminal charges, it's likely that you will be facing all sorts of questioning. You may not have been arrested at the time, which can make your rights during the investigation period even more confusing to you.
A couple of situations will be running through your mind during questioning. You'll most likely feel pressured to answer all of the questions being asked of you, but you want to avoid making a mistake that can potentially incriminate yourself. Even if you are innocent, nerves and stress related to questioning can cause you to possibly make inaccurate statements that can be held against you.
Know that you do not need to talk to the police without a lawyer present. Here is what you should understand about your right to remain silent.
You Can Remain Silent When Speaking To A Known Authority Figure
In most situations, it is very obvious that you're talking to an authority figure under the law. Usually they will present themselves as a law official, and you can choose not to talk to them without a lawyer present. They may use intimidation tactics, but you must understand that is it not against the law to remain silent.
Of course, confusion comes into play when you talk to an undercover authority figure. Even though you did not know that they were working undercover, admissions can be used against you.
You Must Be Told Your Rights
When arrested as a suspect of a crime, you will be read your Miranda rights as part of the process. This is to let you know you can seek legal council, and that everything you say will be admissible in your trial.
If you are not read your Miranda rights, meaning you were not notified of your legal right to silence, what you tell a law official could be dismissed as evidence during a trial. Your best course of action is to let an officer know that you're choosing to remain silent per your rights, which should signal them to back off with questioning until your legal council arrives.
You Cannot Remain Silent If You Give Testimony In Court
If you decide to give a testimony in court as a witness, you no longer have your right to remain silent. The prosecution and defense will be given an equal opportunity to question you, which is why many people do not testify during their own court case.
When you find yourself being questioned by the police and are not sure what to do, always have a lawyer, like one from the Law Offices of John T Nejedly, on your side to help.