Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Should I talk to the police?”
A police arrest can be a traumatic experience. When the police make an arrest, there is often some urgency and sometimes confusion. You may be trying to help your case or do not realize what you said, but you made a statement to the police. Now, you are unsure whether you made a big mistake and how you can help resolve your case favorably. While giving a statement might not be helpful to your criminal case, there may be some things your defense attorney can do to improve the situation.
Is an Excited Utterance a Statement?
An excited utterance is a statement you make during or immediately after a situation occurs. An excited utterance includes words spoken without thought while you are in the throes of emotion. Courts have ruled that, in general, excited utterances can be used as evidence in a criminal case. There is no set time for when words you speak at the scene are excited utterances and when it constitutes a statement to law enforcement. If they could hurt your case, your attorney will try to show that the words you spoke should be excluded from the case.
What About a Call to 911?
Calls to 911 are always recorded; therefore, there could be some evidence taken from those calls used in court. A 911 call could be used against you if you confessed. When calling 911, you should be sure that you only answer questions that are asked. Do not provide any additional information than what is needed to get emergency help. It stands to reason that when you call 911, you are very upset, but you should not give any type of confession or statement that could later be used against you in court.
Do the Police Have to Read My Miranda Rights?
The Miranda Warning is information that police must provide you with before they attempt to obtain a statement from you. You have the right to remain silent, and what you say can be used against you in court. You have the right to an attorney during questioning. Although the police read your rights, they may try to get you to talk. If you do, you could make it harder to defend the charges. If the police do not intend to question you, they do not have to immediately read your rights.
What Happens if I Already Made a Statement?
After an arrest, the police are often eager to obtain a statement. While it is best not to talk, many people give a statement and then wonder how that will impact the case. A statement can be used against you in court with some exceptions. Your attorney will work to try to get the statement excluded from the evidence. Sometimes without a statement, there may not be enough evidence to proceed. If the statement was made under duress or your rights were not properly read, it may have been obtained improperly. Other times, your statements may not be particularly incriminating; therefore, you can tailor your defense accordingly.
It is usually best not to make any statement to the police, even if you feel it could help keep you from being arrested. Most often, you will face an arrest regardless. It is a good idea to seek legal guidance immediately after the incident. Your attorney will review the facts and provide you with helpful legal advice pertaining to your specific case. If you or a loved one was arrested for a crime, don’t delay. Contact our legal team at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 for the help you need.
The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may face include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights and stand at the ready to fight in defense of those facing criminal charges.
Miranda Warning | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)
excited utterance | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)
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