If the authorities are questioning you concerning your whereabouts or actions in association with an alleged crime, you are now a suspect in a criminal investigation. In this situation, it is important that you be very careful about the things you say and within the interactions that you have with law enforcement. If you say the wrong thing or insinuate any admission of guilt, your statements can incriminate you and lead to criminal charges.
This is why it's important that you are aware of the rights and protections afforded to you by the Constitution, state and local laws. Exercising these rights can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Even if you know that you didn't break the law and have nothing to hide, cooperation with the police does not guarantee that you'll be off the hook.
If you believe that the police are reaching out to you concerning a criminal investigation, don't hesitate to exercise these crucial rights:
The right to privacy
The police may ask you if they can search your property, or even you. This is a tactic that law enforcement employs to get you to waive your 4th Amendment rights, which protects you from unauthorized searches and seizures. If they don't have a warrant, the answer to a search request should always be no.
The right to remain silent
One of the most well-known rights people know about is the right to remain silent. If the police ask you any questions about an alleged crime, you can “plead the fifth” to keep yourself from making any incriminating statements. Police have mastered the art of getting you to say what they need to hear. They have the authority to lie to you, trick you into believing that you're in trouble when you aren't, and take what you say out of context. The only time you should speak to the authorities is if you have an attorney present to guide you.
The right to leave
If you haven't been arrested or haven't been read your Miranda rights, you don't have to stick around to hear the police out. To distinguish between a potential arrest attempt and a simple questioning, you should outright ask an officer. If they confirm that you're not under arrest, you can, and should, exercise your right to leave that predicament.
The right to an attorney
This is one of the most important rights that the 6th Amendment affords you. If you believe that you are a suspect in a criminal investigation, your first step should be to contact an experienced legal professional. They will help you throughout an investigation from beginning to end and help you avoid serious mistakes that could lead to criminal charges.
Montgomery County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you think you're a suspect in a criminal investigation, protecting yourself should be your main priority. The most effective way of doing so is to retain a skilled Montgomery County criminal defense attorney. Legal professional Joseph D. Lento has successfully represented countless clients who've acquired misdemeanor and felony charges and has helped them get their sentence reduced, and their charges dismissed. For a case evaluation, contact him today online or by phone at (215) 535-5353.