I have written on the Constitutional Right to not incriminate yourself many times. This sacred right is provided for under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Mississippi Constitution of 1890 has a similar provision. What these Constitutional rights give you is the absolute right to remain silent and not make any statement that will directly or indirectly incriminate yourself or provide any fact in a “chain of facts” that might aid in your own prosecution by the government. Good people can make mistakes and bad choices sometimes. When the government wants to prosecute someone they can and often will go after them with unlimited resources. There are times when the government chooses to prosecute a series of offenses when it actually makes more sense to offer some form of punishment that does not involve incarceration. Remember, government is run by people and it is not always perfect, fair and impartial. So my advice is this: Since our system of government is an adversary system, don’t provide your adversary with the evidence against you!
Here are some examples of why I say get a lawyer. In a several cases I have had clients come to me who were arrested for possessing drugs. Before I was helping them the police officers convinced them to bust other people and it would “go lighter” on them. The man in this case worked as a snitch and busted 5 of his friends. When he was finally charged the D.A. gave him very little consideration for his cooperation with the police. In another case a young girl was convinced by the police to bust 3 people in order to curry favor with the police and get help with her drug arrest. After she started the police demanded 12 busts. This meant the young girl had to get deeper in the drug world to bust other people when her original charge was not even serious. Today I was travelling and I stopped in Pensacola, Florida to visit two of my attorney friends who are hard core criminal defense lawyers like me. We went to a nice, simple waterfront restaurant for lunch and I learned about a case where the police tricked the girl into making a statement that connected her to a drug case. As we all talked about the case it was clear that the young woman had no criminal liability absent her statement. It is always better to be in a trial without a statement by your client than with a statement.
Don’t make the mistake that I am opposed to good law enforcement. I am not and I support good, honest, helpful law enforcement. However, I am sitting here thinking about several areas around the Jackson area where the police have the attitude of it’s “them against us.” I recently viewed a video tape of a traffic stop and arrest for supposedly driving under the influence of drugs. The stop showed no erratic driving. The man essentially got stopped for DWL. What, you have not heard of that? Surely you have heard of DWI (driving under the influence). DWL is driving while late at night. The officer had his video and audio mike on and all of the stop was recorded. What I heard was one of the rudest encounters by a police toward a citizen that I have heard in my 29 years. To put it bluntly, the officer had an attitude, and an extremely bad one. Sadly, from my experience this is normal.
If you are suspected of a crime you need help and legal advice. No matter how kind the detectives may seem, no matter how polite the F.B.I. acts, make no mistake-if they think you are guilty they are going to try to get together the evidence to arrest you. If they are mad or want to punish you they will make sure you have a very high bail. This will force you to have a bail hearing. The officers can also go to the prosecutor and make matters hard for you. Ask yourself this: Why provide the government with the evidence against you? Why give the government evidence? I can assure you that it is not very often that the government takes mercy on people accused in court. If they have you in the sights, the government will pull the trigger. You may have done something wrong that is a violation of the law. The government may have plenty of evidence against you. You may need to plea bargain. But I can assure you that nothing is going to be gained by incriminating yourself. If you or a friend have a criminal problem call us for a free consultation. We have the real, hardcore experience to help you. There are plenty of inexperienced attorneys and lawyers who practice criminal law part-time. Do you want part-time knowledge and experience?
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.