How To Avoid Self-Incrimination

How To Avoid Self-Incrimination

If you’ve been arrested or accused of a crime, it’s important to know how to avoid self-incrimination. Allegations of criminal activity can significantly damage your personal life, reputation, and your career. When questioned, it’s natural to feel anxious and rush to your own defense.

Don’t do that.

It can be detrimental to your case. You have certain constitutional rights that protect you from accidentally harming yourself legally.

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you from having your words used against you and guarantees you the right to a jury trial. The Sixth Amendment guarantees that anyone in police custody has rights, including the right to an attorney. Additionally, the Fourteenth Amendment protects a suspect from unfair questioning by police officers as well as ensuring the right to a jury trial at a state level.

Miranda Rights

In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled that when a person is taken into custody by the police, they must be informed of their constitutional rights. Police often use the Miranda Warning to inform a suspect of these rights. The Miranda Warning can be broken down into five basic elements.
  • You have the right to remain silent.

If you are being arrested, you are not obligated to give a statement or self-incriminate in any way. If you indicate at any time before or during questioning that you wish to remain silent, then all questioning must stop. Even if you’re not being arrested, you still have this right. If you wish to terminate any encounter with police, you can always ask if you are free to go, and, if so, you may respectfully walk away. If you are not free to go, this means you are being detained, and the stop may or may not lead to an arrest. 
  • Anything you say will be used against you in a court of law.

If you waive your right to remain silent, any statement you make, even if you make it with the best intentions in mind, can and will be used against you. Pay attention to the wording: “Can and will…” It might be tempting to think the officer has your best interests in mind, but remaining silent is the best course of action.
  • You have the right to an attorney.

The right to legal counsel is protected by the U.S. Constitution and it’s very important to invoke this right if you are charged with a crime. During questioning, an attorney can help you understand when to invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and can protect you from accidental self-incrimination that could lead to a conviction. Your attorney should be present for any statements that are made in order to provide a better legal defense.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you by the court.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees a suspect state-appointed legal counsel regardless of their ability to pay.
  • With these rights in mind, are you still willing to talk with me about the charges against you?

Once consent is given, police can use any incriminating statement you make against you in court. Police can still arrest a suspect without Mirandizing them as long as they do not plan on questioning them.

Beyond Miranda Rights

Beyond invoking your right to an attorney and the right to remain silent, another step you can take to avoid self-incrimination is to not discuss your case with anyone but your attorney. This is especially important when it comes to social media. While you may feel safe posting opinions or information regarding your case, your family or friends can be called to testify against you, and your social media accounts can be subpoenaed.

DUI Defense Team Can Help You Avoid Self-Incrimination

If you have been charged with a crime, invoke your right to an attorney and call us. We have over 25 years of experience successfully defending Tucson residents against criminal charges.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
2929 E. Broadway Blvd.
Tucson, AZ. 85716