Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney explains why you should always invoke your rights (Always).
There is never a better time to invoke your right to remain silent than when you are first approached by police or any law enforcement officer. Police use several different methods of investigating criminal activity. One of the more devious ways is through the “consensual encounter”. A consensual encounter is a very simple way for police officers to gather information without the formalities and the work involved in a custodial arrest or of a lawful detention. The officer will simply walk up to you and say “Hey can I talk to you for a second?” The officer knows that if you ignore him/her, there is nothing more they can do unless the officer has witnessed you commit or about to commit a crime, you have the right to be able to walk away and ignore the officer seeking to question you. This rule is very well settled in court. Your 5th amendment right to remain silent doesn’t necessarily apply in its full sense because you have not been detained or questioned.
However, every day throughout Florida law enforcement officers will approach a person they suspect of some type of criminal wrongdoing. If you have been detained, told by law enforcement you cannot leave, handcuffed or arrested the best thing to do in that situation is to invoke your right to remain silent and simply say “I am invoking my right to remain silent and to be free from questioning. I will not make any statement to you or to any law enforcement officer without an attorney present.” Then, you must remain silent. If you are unsure whether you can leave the presence of law enforcement, you should ask them directly: “Can I leave now or am I being detained? If I am not free to leave, on what charges are you detaining me?” After the officer answers your question, you must then remain silent. Do not be fooled into speaking with officers. Speaking with law enforcement after being detained will never help your situation. The best thing you can do is invoke your constitutional right to remain silent and then say nothing.
The only information that you are required to provide to law enforcement after you have invoked your right to remain silent is your identifying information. This identifying or “Pedigree” information includes your name, date of birth, address and other information to help the police identify who you are and where you come from. Aside from this basic information, you are not required to answer any other questions at all.
When you invoke your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney, law enforcement is required to leave you alone and stop any and all questioning of you. This is a very important rule of law. If you are detained or in police custody, it is important to make it very clear that you want an attorney present before there can be any questioning. Many times police will continue to ask “clarifying” questions if you are unclear as to whether you are
invoking your rights. The law requires a “Clear and Unequivocal Invocation” of your rights. Otherwise, the police can trick you into answering incriminating questions thereby potentially sinking any chance you have at a defense.
Depending on what the circumstances are surrounding your contact with law enforcement, you may not have enough time to actually hire a lawyer to represent you. The best time to have a lawyer advise you on what to do is if you are approached by law enforcement and the police are requesting you come to the station to give a statement about a potential crime. You have enough time to consult with a lawyer of your choice and hire one to discuss your situation and to advise you on what to do next.
Hiring an attorney is a very important because the attorney will immediately inform the police that you have invoked your rights under the Constitution. The police are then legally prevented from contacting you again or making any attempt to interrogate you on any issue whatsoever without your attorney present.
If you have been contacted by a police officer or any law enforcement officer related to a criminal investigation, never talk to the police without speaking to a criminal defense attorney first. Remember, there is nothing you can say on your own that will help your case. Always let an attorney speak on your behalf no matter how you think you will look in the eyes of a police officer. Even a fish would not get caught if they kept their mouth shut.
Please contact Criminal Defense Attorneys Dell & Schaefer for a free consultation.
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