Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florida Answers Your Questions About Your Rights, When To Remain Silent, and Tricks Played by Police Officers.
What Happens if an Officer Doesn't Read Me My Rights During the Course of an Arrest?Clients will often ask this question, along with, “Can I get my case dismissed on this basis alone?" The reading of your rights is something that is a compulsory part of your arrest. Unfortunately, you cannot get your case dismissed sheerly because an officer doesn't read you your rights. However, it does have important ramifications on where the case goes from there.
If an officer fails to instruct you as to your rights during an arrest, anything that you say during the course of that arrest, in Florida, can likely later be excluded by a motion to suppress evidence or statements, because those statements were obtained from you before you received an adequate warning that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. So although an officer reading your rights is a mandatory portion of the arrest process, the failure to do so won't result in the dismissal of your case, but could likely result in the exclusion of certain evidence obtained from you during the course of your arrest.
Should I Cooperate or Remain Silent When an Officer Is Asking Me Questions?
Your right to remain silent during the course of the arrest is an important question, especially when the arresting officer is asking you related questions. The answer is very simple: you should just remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you later, either by that officer, by the state attorney, by the court, whoever may choose to use it.
The bottom line is that the officer is not looking for information from you when he or she asks you to make a statement that is helpful to your case. They are looking to weed out from your statement any and everything that would form the basis of supporting a conviction for what they are arresting you for. So if you say five great things about why you're innocent, and one thing about why you may be guilty, probably only the thing that makes you guilty is going to end up in that police report, and you've done yourself a great disservice by "cooperating.” Truth be told, the officers aren't in the business of finding out why you're innocent; they're trying to build a case against you, and anything you say is evidence in a case.
So if you are asked to make a statement by an officer, do not cooperate - invoke your right to remain silent, and let the evidence speak for itself.
Is It Legal for an Officer to Trick Me into Making Statements?
During the course of an arrest, the officer may (and is in fact allowed to under law) engage in what amounts to trickery to try to obtain statements or confessions from you. It is perfectly legal for them to say, "If you just tell me the answer to this question, I'll let you go.” They could also say, "I already know x, y, and z from another witness," or "from another complainant," and then induce you to make a statement that you believe is professing your innocence, but ends up only being evidence against you.
Once again, if an officer is seeking to obtain a statement from you, whatever the circumstances, do not make any statements about your case because that statement has a very small likelihood of ever helping you, and stands to be a great piece for the state to use later to help convict you of the charges presented.
For a free consultation regarding the specific issues of your case, email or contact us today at (954) 330-8994.