The first time anybody faces criminal charges, they’re usually in shock. Most people don’t set out to commit a crime — and they’re stunned by the circumstances that have led them to their situation.
Far too many people react to the stress of their arrest by trying to reason with the police, explain their case or talk their way out of the situation. That’s a huge mistake. Every word you say is potentially going to be evidence in your criminal case — and officers or detectives are happy to listen as long as you want to talk.
In addition, you can incriminate yourself even if you haven’t received your Miranda warning. Miranda warnings are only required when you are:
- In custody (and not free to leave)
- You are being asked questioned that amount to interrogation.
- The person doing the asking is a police officer or acting as an agent of the police.
Unless all three of these elements are true, the police are free to take what you say and use it however they want.
For example, here are some situations not covered by Miranda:
- You are in handcuffs but you start volunteering information about your situation to the arresting officer, hoping that he or she will sympathize with your situation. You aren’t being interrogated, so Miranda doesn’t apply.
- You haven’t been arrested but asked to come into the police station for a “chat” to “clear the air.” You are told you can leave at any time. Since you aren’t captive, Miranda doesn’t apply. Anything you say can be used against you.
- You have been arrested and placed in jail. You make a phone call and a family member starts asking about your crime — even though the call is recorded. Since you weren’t being interrogated by the police — just a family member — Miranda doesn’t apply.
If you’re facing first-time criminal charges for any reason, don’t rely on anything but your criminal defense attorney — and don’t discuss your situation, crime, charges or case with anyone except your attorney. Our office provides an aggressive defense for our clients from the very start — so contact us today.