After someone is arrested, they are read their Miranda rights and should definitely exercise that right to remain silent. That is especially the case where the officers say, “If you aren’t guilty you don’t need a lawyer. Go ahead and talk to us. It will be easier for you.”
Every day people make that mistake by talking with the police. Even if you are absolutely innocent, be careful what you say because it can and will be twisted to be used against you. This often happens in the most serious of cases such as murder cases. Police tend to get tunnel vision once they have decided who is a suspect. It does not really matter what is said. They are going to find a way to get evidence against that individual.
Another way people unintentionally incriminate themselves is when they are in jail, they make phone calls to family members and friends. Despite there being a prompt at the beginning of the conversation indicating the conversation is being recorded, people still end up saying incriminating things. The prosecutor’s office listens to every single one of those tapes in serious cases.
Another thing you should not do is talk to fellow inmates about your case at all. They are definitely not your friends. If they think that there is a way they can receive a reduction of their own charges by making up things about you or by telling prosecutors what was said, they will. It happens all of the time. In fact, many convictions are obtained from jailhouse snitches.
We also hear people say that they were not read their Miranda rights. In general, law enforcement officers can come up and talk to you without reading you your rights. It turns on whether or not you are “detained” which is a cloudy area of the law. Even if you are not detained, you do not have to talk to the police. It is best that you very politely decline to talk to the police.
Some people wrongly think that their case is going to be dismissed because they were not read their Miranda rights. That is only going to matter if a statement was made that police want to use against you.
Additionally, the law is constantly changing through the State Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court on at what point is the person actually detained. I had a case where the judge said the client was not under investigation, so his statement implicating himself in a crime was admissible even though Miranda warnings were not given. The guy was surrounded by ten police officers who suspected him of murder, so I beg to differ with that judge’s analysis. There is certainly no bright line rule as to when someone has to be Mirandized. All you can do is argue it to the judge. However, rarely are cases thrown out because someone was not Mirandized. If you just keep quiet, there is not going to be an issue.
There is no reason to be rude because that can alter the outcome as well. Be as polite as you can be but be firm and say, “I want to invoke my right to remain silent and I’d like to speak to an attorney.”
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