Your Right to an Attorney When Speaking With Police
Welcome to one of the most stressful encounters you will have during the arrest process – speaking with the Bakersfield police. Even when no crime has been committed, this is a nerve-wracking experience, but when we are guilty it's much worse. Visalia Police officers, particularly detectives, are known for their ability to induce a confession from a suspect. Their means for doing so, whether before taking the suspect into custody or after arrest, can be aggressive, intrusive and sometimes downright tricky. Bakersfield Police officers are trained on how to lie to you in order trick you in the confessing. Knowing your rights, and relevant laws and principles you should follow when facing police questioning can save you a lot of heartache down the road.
Declining to Answer
As a citizen of the United States, and under the 5th Amendment, you always have the right to remain silent. Whether you have been taken into custody or not, this is a “right against self-incrimination”.
When a crime occurs, police will arrive at the scene to investigate and speak with witnesses and anyone who may have useful information. Under Federal Law, you are under no obligation to answer any questions, whether you are a witness or a suspect. It is generally wise to produce your identifying information to police, but that is as far as it needs to go. A suspect or witness is free to decline to answer any police questioning and to contact a lawyer to protect your rights, even before being taken into custody. Remember, there is no such thing as “off the record” when dealing with the Visalia police or detectives from Tulare County Sheriffs Department.
Lying to Police
Always decline to answer as opposed to lying to the Bakersfield police. The BPD (Bakersfield Police Department) will question you before arresting to avoid having to read you your Miranda rights. But lying during a the police investigation will almost always come back to haunt you in the end, as anything you say can be used in a court of law. Always decline to answer and consult with a capable and experienced criminal defense attorney to be on the safe side.
Before initiating an interrogation, the police are required to administer Miranda Rights to an arrested suspect. The Miranda Rights inform the suspect of his right to remain silent and to consult with an attorney. A proper Miranda warning must be given by police. The VPD (Visalia Police Department) is required to read you your Miranda Rights. If it is not, the police risk losing the ability to use any of the information they have obtained in court. Even relevant and discriminating evidence can be excluded if rights are not properly given. A suspect should always practice their right to hire an attorney before agreeing to a police interrogation.
Mental Limitation, Intoxication and Confessions
When the court or the jury are considering the credibility or admissibility of a confession, they can take the suspect's state of mind into consideration, including, but not limited to, his/her level of intoxication. However, it has been ruled on by the courts that just because a suspect is more likely to confess when intoxicated, it does not necessarily mean that he/she is mentally incapable of giving a valid confession. Therefore, if you confess while intoxicated, the burden will fall on you to prove that the confession was untrue or involuntary, which can be a difficult thing to do. Nevertheless, the court may exclude a confession if the suspect was so utterly intoxicated that he/she was not able to effectively waive their rights. Under the Constitution, in order to be valid, a confession must be voluntary.
Please note that often police interrogators will offer a promise of leniency, or a lesser sentence, if you cooperate. Prior to agreeing to any questioning or giving any statements of any kind, regardless of promises of leniency, always consult with an experienced criminal attorney who can represent you at the interrogation.
Declining to Answer – You are not under any obligation to answer any questions, other than identifying information. Always answer a question with a question – “Am I free to go?” “Can I call my lawyer now?” “Do you have a search warrant?” or “I have nothing to say until I speak with my attorney.” Police can often tell you an untruth. Do not say anything until you have spoken with your lawyer
Lying to Police – Neven lie to police as it could hurt your case during trial. It is always better to decline to answer and call your attorney.
Miranda Rights – The police are required to read you your Miranda Rights. Always practice your right to hire an attorney before agreeing to an interrogation.
Mental Limitation, Intoxication and Confessions – Although there are cases where a person may be so intoxicated that he/she is not able to effectively waive their rights, it is always best, no matter what, to stay silent.
If the police do attempt to questions you contact the attorneys at Martens & Brusseau to determine if the Bakersfield Police violated your rights in interrogating you. We have offices in Bakersfield at 1701 Westwind Drive, Suite 123, Bakersfield CA 93301. Our offices in Visalia are rights across the street from the Tulare Superior Court at 220 South Mooney Boulevard, Suite D, Visalia, California 93291.