'Tis the Season to Be Silent
Since it is the Christmas season, I am going to share my three Christmas wishes with you:
Christmas Wish Number Three: A Cholesterol Free Prime Porterhouse Steak
Christmas Wish Number Two: World Peace
Christmas Wish Number One: Clients Who Don't Talk to Anybody
Almost all my clients ask me to get their case dismissed. I would like nothing better. It makes my client happy and it helps me get new clients. However, in most cases where the police have already contacted my client, my client gave a statement. I always wish that my clients had remained silent.
You are the best witness against yourself….Really?
Absolutely. Read this very carefully: The Miranda warning does not contain the words "anything you say can and will be used against you" just to give you a heads up. Your statement is often the BEST (#1, top of the heap) evidence against you. Any statement you make gets admitted into evidence. If you admitted to something related to your crime such as:
- "I didn't hit my wife very hard"
- "I don't know why I took the purse without paying for it"
- "I just wanted to get the money out of the register but she tried to stop me"
- "I knew she was 15 when we had sex, but it was her idea"
You just gave the prosecutor very good evidence of domestic violence, shoplifting, robbery, and sex with a minor.
Once you incriminate yourself, the prosecutor has no motivation to dismiss your case because if the case goes to trial, then your statement is read to the jury and it is used just as if you testified to it in court.
However, if you remain silent when the police contact you, then the prosecutor may be missing a crucial piece of evidence. Remember, I don't need to prove that you are innocent. I just need the jury to find that there is reasonable doubt as to your guilt. When my clients remain silent, I have much more to work with in creating and arguing reasonable doubt. In cases where I was able to keep my clients from talking to the police, the majority of the cases dismissed before filing.
What if they don't give me the Miranda warning?
Most statements are given voluntarily. The favorite phrase that police officers like to use is: "Don't you want to give your side of the story?" Police officers are almost always polite. They seem like they want to help you. They tell you that you don't have to talk but you can do so voluntarily. In many cases, the police don't have enough evidence unless you give it to them.
This last summer I tried a case involving a serious felony. Before my client ever met me, he gave the police four hours of audio and video recorded statements. During the trial, I got the officer to tell the jury that my client would never have even been arrested if he remained silent and did not speak. In that case my client spoke voluntarily. He could have avoided the whole case by keeping his mouth shut.
"I wanted to tell them something to help my case."
There is nothing you can say to help yourself. The police are thoroughly trained to twist your words against you or even lie about what you said. Once the officer puts your statement in a report, then you have to convince a jury that the officer is misstating the truth. GOOD LUCK ON THAT ONE.
My Christmas Wish for You:
Silent night, Holy night
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.