There are many ways police officers try to obtain confessions from people accused of committing crimes. And even though they know you have the right to remain silent, that does not prevent them from talking to you and using intimidation to “break you” into making a statement. Don’t let intimidation thwart your case during police questioning in St. Petersburg.

In the 1966 Supreme Court ruling Miranda v. Arizona, interrogation of any criminal suspect must be accompanied by instruction that the person has the right to remain silent, that any statements can be used against the suspect, and that he or she has the right to legal counsel. If law enforcement does not observe the above Fourth Amendment Constitutional protections, any evidence or statements collected are inadmissible in court.

Many examples exist of people being absolved of crimes with DNA evidence or investigations by their attorneys or law enforcement after giving into pressure during an interrogation and confessing to a crime that they did not commit. This is why all criminal suspects must remain steadfast in refusing to answer any questions without a lawyer present. Even innocent suspects can be convicted by seasoned detectives who are adept at pulling confessions from them and having them sign what might appear to be an innocent statement. Some of these tactics include:

“Good cop/bad cop”: One officer questions you aggressively and expects the worst from you, while the other pretends to be your friend and protector. While the bad cop harangues you, the good one tells you that once you “come clean” if you are innocent, everything will be all right, or says that if you work with them, the district attorney could reduce the charges as a reward. During interrogations, police can mislead suspects with innuendo, lies and half-truths to get a confession.

Isolation: Interrogators will isolate suspects to make them feel alone and friendless, usually in a dingy, windowless interrogation room, many times with a video camera recording everything.

Maximization: The interrogator tells the suspect he knows he is guilty. He then will present a theory of the crime based on the evidence but just as often completely fictitious. The interrogator ignores or refuses to believe the suspect’s continued claims of innocence. This relentless approach is meant to break down the suspect into confessing.

Miranda Does Not Apply if You Are Not in Police Custody

Any time up to the point you are in police custody, anything you say can be used against you. Informal questioning can happen any time the police stop you. Assume the officer suspects you of crime. Ask why the officer stopped you and if you are free to leave. If you are, then do so. If you are not, then say – respectfully – that you wish to speak to an attorney before answering any questions. Remember, innocent people are arrested and go to trial by making the mistake of not protecting their rights.

Another time you must be on guard is the moment you are suspected of committing any crime. This often happens when the police show up with a search warrant. Or it can happen if a friend is suspected of a crime and you have reason to wonder if the police want to investigate you. If so, contact an experienced criminal lawyer at Goldman Wetzel immediately to act as your legal representative. Having a lawyer represent you during a criminal investigation also tells law enforcement your rights are being protected and you will not be intimidated.

If you have been arrested or know you are a suspect in any criminal proceeding, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel at your earliest opportunity at 727-828-3900.

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