INTERROGATION

Many people think they are helping themselves when they speak with police and answer police questions. In my opinion, it is almost never a good idea to speak with police, especially when you know you may be suspected of a crime.

Invoking your right to remain silent CANNOT be used against you in court; it is strictly forbidden to even be mentioned to a jury.

If you are already under arrest, the police officer has already formed the belief that you are guilty. Do you think your comments will change his mind? Even innocent comments can be construed as admissions of guilt. Denials are considered by police to be dishonesty and will NOT result in your release.

Think about it. Why would police question a criminal suspect? Police take time to question and gather evidence because it is helpful to the case against the suspect, not for him. When a case is weak, police often hope the suspect's statement will be the missing link to a conviction; they are often correct, regardless of whether the suspect is truly guilty.

Many very defendable cases have been lost simply because the suspects made incriminating statements in the erroneous belief it would help them. Think about it: if you have been arrested, the police think you did something wrong. Would their questioning be geared to help you or hurt you? Police do NOT want to help suspects, unless one considers convictions "help".

If you are not already convinced that speaking with police is a bad idea, consider the fact that courts routinely state that it is perfectly legal for police to lie and mislead suspects in order to coerce confessions. A confession in a recent death penalty case in El Paso was upheld despite the officers' lies to the suspect that his family was being tortured.

Generally, a person's best bet is to invoke his right to remain silent and immediately seek the assistance of a competent criminal defense attorney, regardless of whether the person is guilty or innocent, and regardless of what evidence the police supposedly have.

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*All answers are for people 21 years or older, do not involve enhancements, are not exclusive, and are limited to Texas.

**This page is for informational purposes ONLY and must not be relied upon as legal advice because it is NOT a substitute for the advice of a qualified attorney, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship.

Not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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