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Is it OK to Talk to the Police if I am Innocent About Charges?

After an arrest, it is much less risky to exercise your right to remain silent than it is to speak truthfully about your innocence.

In many situations, honesty is the best policy. Being transparent, even with people you do not know well, shows that you are trustworthy and you have nothing to hide. In social situations, your evasiveness can prompt some people to ask even more intrusive questions, especially if those people are nosey. At a social gathering, the person who sits in the corner and does not say a word is the one that people are most likely to suspect of being a criminal. Being in police custody is not a social situation, though, and you should not apply the etiquette rules that you would follow at a neighborhood barbecue or at the cookies and milk reception after your child’s choir concert at school. Anything that you might say to the police when they have arrested you on suspicion of a crime is the wrong thing to say; the best thing you can do is to say nothing at all. You will have a chance to talk to a lawyer, though, and that is when you should open up. When you are first arrested, the only words you should use are the ones it takes to contact an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer or to ask a family member to contact one for you.

The Fifth Amendment is for Everyone, Not Just for Guilty People

You have probably seen defendants plead the Fifth Amendment on the witness stand in movies. Perhaps you have even said, “I plead the Fifth” when your spouse asked you point blank whether you ate the last Milky Way bar in the cupboard. There is more to the Fifth Amendment than that, though. When police are questioning you about an alleged crime about which they believe that you know any information, you have the right to discuss matters privately with a criminal defense lawyer before you talk to the police. The state will appoint a public defender to your case only if you have been arrested on suspicion of a crime, but you have the right to hire a lawyer and discuss Fifth Amendment matters even if you are being asked to give a deposition as a witness in a civil case.

What Can Go Wrong When an Innocent Defendant Talks to Police?

As the Miranda warnings say, anything you say can and will be used against you. Even if you carefully avoid small talk and stick to a straight recitation of events, none of which involve you breaking the law, prosecutors will find a way to use it to make you look guilty. Think about how kids can convince you that, when you said, “No, we aren’t going to Chick-fil-A today,” the only plausible interpretation is that you meant, “Yes, we are going to Chick-fil-A today.” That is what prosecutors will do, so the best option is to stay silent.

Call an Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

A criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid incriminating yourself. Contact the defense lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam in Atlanta, Georgia, about criminal defense cases.