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Growing up, adults always told us that we could trust the police to be on our side. They may have even visited your elementary school and given a presentation advising you to always feel safe around them. However, this isn’t always the case in the real world. You will often find that if you are the suspect of a crime, putting all of your trust in the police is a bad idea.
There are many disadvantages to talking to the police without consulting an attorney first, and you should avoid speaking to them on your own whether you are innocent or not. Having your attorney present is the best course of action for communicating with the police. There are numerous reasons why you should never speak to the police without a criminal lawyer. When you’re facing an encounter with the authorities in California, consider reaching out to a reliable criminal law firm to ensure your rights are protected.
The Police Are Not Going to Help You
If you are the suspect of a crime, talking to the police isn’t going to help improve your situation. Unlike what is commonly found in television procedurals, police will not make you a deal or help mitigate any penalties on your behalf because you complied. The police are not permitted to decide how a criminal matter will be resolved. When a suspect is apprehended, the district attorney’s office in that area takes over the case.
A lawyer has a better understanding of how the criminal justice system operates than you do, and they are aware of previous plea agreements that have been reached in instances like yours. Utilizing this knowledge and experience can help you negotiate with the DA, but if you’ve already given the authorities incriminating statements without a lawyer present, it could harm your case.
Anything You Say Could Be Used as Evidence Against You
The Miranda warning informs suspects that anything they say can—and probably will—be used against them in court. However, any comment you make could be used as evidence even before you are arrested. Police may start questioning you to get you to say anything damaging. They are not required to read you a Miranda warning before asking you these questions if you are not being held in custody. Any details you provide could be used as proof.
The only information you are required to give an officer is your name and, upon request, a copy of your driver’s license when they perform a valid traffic stop. You do not need to provide any additional details regarding your past or future travels, though. If the officer persists, you should let them know you won’t respond to any more queries until you’ve had a chance to consult with a criminal defense attorney.
The Police Can Lie to You
Many people fail to consider that the police are legally allowed to lie to you. In addition to establishing a relationship with you to gain your trust, the police will do this to obtain a confession or evidence to support the prosecution’s case for conviction. Even if you are innocent, officers may fabricate evidence during an interrogation to coerce you into confessing to a crime they suspect you are responsible for.
Also, the police will frequently tell you a lie to get you to talk without an attorney present, one of which is that what you say next is off the record, which is never true. There are no restrictions on the methods the police may employ in an effort to coerce you into confessing to a crime.
You Risk Being Accused of Lying
If you’re relaying events to the police, you might occasionally misremember something or neglect to mention some information. The police might consider a mistake you made in your explanation to be a lie. In California, lying to the police is against the law and can result in a conviction.
In some cases, you may be detained and charged with a crime only because the police believe you are lying to them. According to California Vehicle Code 31, intentionally giving the police false information is illegal. Knowingly giving a police officer a false name, fake ID, fake vehicle registration, or false information in response to a question is prohibited by this statute.
Violating Vehicle Code 31 is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and six months in county prison. California Penal Code 148.9 also makes it illegal to give a police officer a fake identity. Falsely identifying oneself to a police officer is punishable by up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if you are found guilty under PC 148.9.
Contact an Experienced California Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Understanding your rights when facing the California police is critical. You have the right to remain silent and speak with a lawyer regardless of the offense you are thought to have committed. The outcome of your police encounter and your case (if you are charged) may be influenced by having an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side.
At Dod Law, APC, our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys have 18 years of experience and can assist you in claiming and defending your legal rights. We make every effort to protect your rights so that you don’t suffer the unfair consequences of encounters with the police. To arrange a free consultation right away, give us a call at (619) 814-5110 or fill out our contact form.