As a general rule I advise all of my NJ criminal defense clients that when you are under arrest, or under investigation for committing a criminal offense…STOP TALKING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED! Or ‘When you find yourself in a hole, STOP DIGGING!’
When asked to identify yourself, give the police your name and address but do not talk about ‘what happened’. The police are not there for a social engagement, they are there to investigate a potential crime, secure evidence (which includes taking statements of what occurred from those present at the time), and if appropriate, arrest those involved and charge them with a criminal act. This is not the time for you to ‘tell your side of the story’, as anything you say to the police can be interpreted and used against you to support the probable cause to arrest you and charge you with the criminal act.
As an example, you and I get into an argument and I know I’ve gotten you pretty upset…so I tell you to take your ‘best shot’ and take out your frustration by punching me, which you do. Someone calls the police, and when the police arrive to investigate the disturbance you tell the police about the argument, and that we worked it out with me telling you to hit me, and that you did so and now the argument is over and that we worked it out…and the police arrest you. Why are they arresting you? For ‘Simple Assault’, which you have given a statement (more evidence against you) admitting that you committed this criminal act. Your own admission, ‘telling your side of the story’ is what gets you locked up, because under the New Jersey law, I cannot consent to being hit, so your statement gets you arrested, and probably convicted.
Unless you really want to be confronted in Court about your admission that ‘I did it’, stop making things worse for your defense.
If you are being investigated or are being arrested, make certain to state I WANT TO REMAIN SILENT and I WANT A LAWYER. These statements assert your constitutional rights to not become a witness against yourself and to have the advice of counsel. If a ‘Miranda Form’ advising you of your rights is placed before you, write on the form that you want to remain silent and want a lawyer. If you do not assert your rights, you will lose them, and you can make things worse by ‘telling the police what your side of the story is’. As the saying goes, you cannot un-ring a bell, and once you make a statement that implicates you, the only way to try to get that statement suppressed is to file a formal Motion to Suppress and convince the Judge that your statement was not knowingly and voluntarily given.
#remainsilent #constitutional #rights
The information contained in this blog post is intended as marketing, not advertising, as is more fully stated in the Disclaimer Page of this blog site. This post is strictly intended for general informational purposes only, and DOES NOT constitute legal advice on any legal matter in N.J. or in any other jurisdiction.
No attorney-client relationship is intended, offered or established by this information, even if it is similar in nature to a situation you are facing. Should you be confronted with a criminal prosecution or investigation, you are strongly advised to consult immediately with an experienced criminal defense lawyer licensed in the State or jurisdiction where the charges are filed, with whom you will have an attorney-client relationship, and can obtain legal advice on how to best handle your issues. This direct consultation should be done before you make any decisions in regards to your legal issue.