Whether an officer pull you over for speeding or takes you to a Florida police station for questioning about a homicide, your encounter with police places your rights at risk. Police have a great deal of liberty when it comes to their investigations, including using lies, intimidation and manipulation to get you to reveal information.
Unfortunately, you may be among the many who cannot control what you say when you are nervous or upset. Even if you carefully choose your words, there is no telling how law enforcement will use those words against you. This is why many who advocate for the rights of the accused recommend saying nothing to police without legal advice.
You can't talk yourself out of this
You may believe that your innocence protects you from arrest or conviction, so if you just explain yourself, no harm will come to you. On the other hand, if you are involved in the offense, police may convince you that telling the truth will make things go better for you. This is often far from the truth. If police question you or arrest you, it is likely they have already decided you are guilty, and your words may help build their case against you.
Other reasons to remain silent until you consult with an attorney include the following:
- Anything you say or do becomes evidence, and that includes statements you make before police read your Miranda warning.
- The stress and confusion during an interrogation may cause you to say something that police can tie to the crime.
- While police may lie to you, it is illegal for you to lie to the police, and doing so, intentionally or as a reflex, can complicate your situation.
- Police may not always have an accurate memory of what you say, so even the most innocent statements may become effective testimony against you.
- You will not know how much evidence or what kinds of evidence police have or exactly what information they are trying to extract from you, so your words may inadvertently incriminate you.
It is instinctive to defend yourself from accusations, explain your involvement or build an alibi when police question you. You may also fall for law enforcement tactics that seek to either place you at ease or fill you with dread so you will talk. Knowing that the best course of action is to politely refrain from answering questions until you speak with legal counsel may protect you from long-term negative consequences.