Always Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

I rarely give legal advice on the blog, but the below video is an excellent restatement of one of the key pieces of advice I give to clients in criminal matters:  never talk to the police.  People often have a charming faith in their ability to explain themselves and get out of trouble.  This almost never works and they merely supply ammunition for any subsequent prosecution.  The old adage that if you are innocent you have nothing to fear could only have been dreamed up by someone who had very limited involvement with the criminal justice system.  If facts should be disclosed do so only after having a consultation with a criminal defense attorney who knows what he is doing, and let him disclose the facts..  Be forthcoming to your attorney.  Lack of full candor often leads to bad legal advice.  Here endeth the lesson.






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  1. Also:
    if they ask if they can check something, say no.

    If they really think you have something, they’ll use the work arounds…and they have to pay for any damage done if they use them.
    If you give them permission, you pay for any damages. And you’re volunteering for an hour or more of wasted time.

  2. I love that video mostly for the moment when the cop at the end asks the audience some questions and they reply, “we’re not supposed to answer cops!”

    People often have a charming faith in their ability to explain themselves and get out of trouble.

    I mostly blame TV. There’s no telling how many people are worse off for having based their legal advice off television.

  3. I hope so. My oldest was in an auto accident a few weeks ago. The driver pulled out in front of him and he hit her in the side. She told the police officer on the scene it was her fault, she just didn’t see my son coming. Now she’s taking it to court and pleading not guilty. I’m hoping her first statement stands. 🙂

  4. I assume Dave that she is accused of a traffic offense. It would be standard operating procedure by her defense counsel to plead her not guilty in hopes of working out a plea bargain with the State. It probably does not reflect what is going to happen in the civil determination of who was at fault. Her statement to the cop would likely to be dispositive since no one was killed or injured and this is the type of collision case usually resolved by the insurance companies and which rarely go to court.

  5. Yeah, thankfully nobody was seriously hurt. Banged up a bit is all. He’s been subpoenaed, that’s why we wondered. It seemed cut and dry at first, then they said he needed to appear as a witness at traffic court, as she was pleading not guilty instead of saying, as she did at the accident, that it was her fault.

  6. Isn’t that exactly one of the situations where common sense and honesty are going to get you in trouble and you’ve got to say “not guilty” even though you are, basically to avoid punishments put up for more serious events?

  7. Women will often say something that sounds to men exactly like, “Oh, I’m so sorry,” when what they mean is “I feel bad that this happened.” If somebody ran their car into mine, yeah I’d feel bad that that happened because I’m not looking forward to all the hassle of insurance settlements, repairs, etc.–all stuff I have to do even though the crash wasn’t my fault.

    But her “I’m so sorry” might be taken as an on-scene admission of fault (state laws vary).

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