Where is the best place for the police to gather evidence against you after you are pulled over for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or any other suspicion of criminal activity? You might be surprised to find out that it’s you. Many police officers rely on their suspects saying the wrong thing to put them in cuffs. Furthermore, many prosecutors depend on those same statements when it comes to landing a conviction in court later.
Using Your 5th Amendment Rights
If you want to take away the opposition’s most powerful tool against you, all you need to do is be quiet. At any time you feel like you are being interrogated or questioned by the police as a suspect, even if they do not say so directly, you should invoke your Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. You’ve probably heard a part of the Fifth Amendment before in television dramas about cops whenever they arrest someone: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be used against you in a court of law.”
The police officer that pulled you over won’t tell you this information upfront, though. It is up to you to know it and to use it. Say it clearly, too, so there is no confusion about your intentions. Don’t get complicated – just say it. “Officer, I am invoking my Fifth Amendment right to stay silent until I have an opportunity to talk to my attorney.” After that, the officer should stop any questioning and, if they press the issue, they can get into legal trouble and jeopardize any evidence collected from thereon.
Some Cooperation is Useful
Falling completely silent might not be in your best interest. There are some questions that the police will expect a response for because they are based on non-confidential, identifying information, like “What is your name?” If you refuse to answer even these basic questions, you are creating needless roadblocks for everyone, including yourself. For example, rather than being booked at the police station somewhat quickly, the clerk is going to have to investigate for an hour or more to figure out who you are.
Understandably, the nuances of the Fifth Amendment, such as when to use and when not to use it, can get a little complicated for people not well-versed in the law. If you have any questions about it, or if you have run into trouble with the law already, The Law Office of Samuel R. Terry can assist you. The firm’s Fort Worth criminal defense attorney has a “Superb” Avvo rating for skills and ethics, backed by an impressive history of successful case results.
Be sure to contact Attorney Samuel Terry as soon as you know you need counsel.