Being Arrested for a Crime? Rule #1, shut up!

I know deep down inside you feel that you can explain yourself to these officers.  You think that once they hear your story, they’ll be like “Oh OK!, sorry guy, we had you all wrong.  We’ll uncuff you and have you on your way with our deepest apologies”   Ok, let’s snap out of fantasy land.  In our real world, police officers have a theory of what happened before you open your mouth.  You are the suspect.  You did what your accused of.  As the words come spilling out of your mouth, all the officer is doing is writing down what he thinks supports the theory that you are guilty.   Every thing that you say will be documented and rest assured it will find its way to the police report.  From there, those same words will be used to convict you in court.    The easiest thing to do (keep your mouth closed) can save you from prison, jail, a felony conviction.   But for far too many people, its unavoidable.   They will put their foot in their mouth because they fall prey to the following myths.

1) Apologize to the police and they will go easy on you. 

You should alwasy treat officers with respect and courtesy.  For the obvious reasons, and also because they can make your life very hard if you don’t.   But apologizing to the officers or telling them how you regret what you’ve done is one of the biggest myths out there.  Most people are under the perception that once you are arrested for a crime, if you just fess up right away and say how darn sorry you are, that they will either let you go or take it easy on you.   While officers respect your honesty, that’s never going to be enough to let you off the hook.  You did what you did, and now they have you admitting to it, so get ready to do your time.  This is not Law & Order, where they ask the suspect to say what he knows and they will take it easy on him.  I guarantee that anyone that is questioning you has absolutely no power to get rid of your charges or to reduce them.  That’s just not how it works in the real world.  So to summarize, be courteous and cooperative but do not admit or confess to anything with police officers.

2) You can outsmart the detectives.

You might think you are smart or that you have the perfect story that may help you get out of your mess.  Here’s the problem, you don’t control this game.  The detectives can hide facts, lie to you, even scare you into saying what they want.  You are in their game.  They do this for a living and they can likely finish your sentences on what you have to say.   Just tell them, you’ve got nothing to say until you see a lawyer. 

I’ve had trials with confessions and without confessions.  I had a case where my client confessed on audio tape in a detailed statement.  We were able to get the jury to find our client not guilty of the felony charges that he confessed to.  But that is more the exception than the rule.  I recently had a case with a wealth of evidence against my client, but the best thing my client did was say nothing to the police.  This allowed us to focus on attacking the evidence and not on defending his confession.  

Best Regards,

Anthony Arzili