Defense Tips for Suspects in a Criminal Case
- CONSENT SEARCHES.
You may be asked by a police officer to consent to the search of your person, home, or car. What should you do? Just say no. DO NOT sign a Consent to Search form. The police will make all kinds of dire threats to gain your consent to search, such as: (1) we will get a search warrant if you don’t cooperate; (2) you will be arrested; (3) we will bring in the narcotics detection dog; or (3) it will look better for your case in front of a judge. Your best angle here is not to consent. The police may lack probable cause to conduct a valid search without your consent. Why give it to them?
- USE OF JAIL HOUSE PHONES.
Did you know that every time you make a call from a jail house phone your conversation is being tape- recorded? It’s true. The police know that when a suspect in a criminal case makes a statement over the phone to a trusted family member or friend about the case, the statement can be used against him or her at trial as a party admission. DO NOT discuss your case over the jail house phone.
- CONVERSATIONS WITH JAIL INMATES.
The same rule applies to jail inmates. When you first arrive in jail, other inmates will naturally want to know why you are there. DO NOT tell them. Simply say, “I was advised by my attorney not to discuss the case.” The reason for this tip is to guard against the jail house snitch. The snitch is an inmate who is only interested in saving himself at your expense. In other words, he will tell the police everything you said and testify in court, if necessary, in exchange for a reduced sentence or release from jail. Unbeknownst to you, this eager listener is not your friend, but a witness for the prosecution.
- STATEMENTS TO POLICE INVESTIGATORS.
If you are suspected of committing a crime, the police will be very interested in taking with you. If you are being interviewed by the police and have not been arrested, the police are under no duty to read you the Miranda Warning. This presents the best opportunity for the police to obtain an incriminating statement from you since you will not be advised of your right to remain silent or to have an attorney present during questioning. DO NOT talk to the police. The police are only interested in convictions and promotions.