You have a right to silence
Sometimes it’s always nice to hear this reminder: you do NOT have to talk to the police. Ever. Aside from giving them your identification or telling them your name, you do not have to answer any of their questions. Whether you have something to hide or you are just uncomfortable speaking to law enforcement, remember that the 5th Amendment grants you the right to remain silent. While the police may not remind you of the right, the criminal defense attorneys at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. will.
Police and the 5th Amendment
The 5th amendment says, in part, that “no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” Frequently, law enforcement officers approach individuals who are not suspects. Police are investigating a crime and they are looking for information. Sometimes the most seemingly harmless statements may actually direct attention towards you. The government cracks countless cases based on the defendant’s statement alone. The evidence is there, but nothing directly links the defendant to the crime.
But some people just can’t help themselves and they feel that urge to speak to the police. 9 times out of 10, you are only going to hurt yourself by talking to the police. And while it is possible to later suppress your statement through a motion, it’s a lot harder to undo a statement once it’s been made than if it were never made at all.
Bring a criminal defense attorney in with you.
At the very least, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney first. If the police want to ask you some questions and you have an idea of what it’s about, give our Milwaukee law firm a call. Everything you tell us is confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege. One of the best criminal defense attorneys at the firm can give you advice as to whether you should make a statement or whether it would be in your best interest to remain silent. And further, we can be with you if you decide to actually make a statement.
Believe me, cops love it when a person of interest voluntarily comes down to the station to make a statement without a lawyer present. The police can use all of their special tactics to convince you to say exactly what they want to hear. But if one of our defense lawyers are there with you, we won’t let them get away with it.
It’s tempting to always “cooperate” and tell the cops your side of the story. Unfortunately, it’s usually not in your best interest. Remember, the police can’t offer “deals” and “lesser charges.” The District Attorney’s office decides on the charges and whether to offer you a sweeter plea deal due to cooperation.
At what point would our criminal defense attorneys challenge an illegal statement?
Let’s assume that you provide a statement to police and we have some reason to challenge that statement. For example, let’s assume the police failed to read your Miranda rights prior to an in-custody interrogation. At which point in the criminal process do we challenge your statement?
If you’re charged with a felony, you have a right to a preliminary hearing. The question at the preliminary hearing is whether the government has probable cause to believe you committed a crime. Put another way, does the government have a plausible theory that you committed a felony? Frequently we aren’t allowed access to discovery until after the prelim. So while it might seem to make sense that we’d challenge illegal police conduct, it’s a few steps down the road that we’ll file a challenge in court.
Once we receive discovery, frequently we’ll file pre-trial motions at a status conference, a scheduling conference, or a pre-trial conference. These are various terms for interim court dates set between the first appearances and trial. Certainly we’ll need to figure out whether your statement comes into trial before that date, so it makes sense that we resolve these issues before that point.
Contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C., a top Milwaukee criminal defense law firm
Give us a call first and one of our criminal defense attorneys can help guide you towards an informed decision whether to make a statement or not. At Meyer Van Severen, our focus is consistently on providing the best criminal defense representation in Wisconsin. Call us at (414) 270-0202 today.