Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in Ocean City Criminal Cases
One of the biggest mistakes I see as an Ocean City criminal lawyer are people feeling absolutely compelled to speak to the police. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people interrogated by the police and they give the police pretty much a roadmap to be able to prosecute them. Sometimes people unknowingly confess to having committed a crime. Sometimes they speak to the police and unfortunately aren’t honest and tell a lie that then can’t be un-told. It’s a double-edged sword: if you’re honest in the interrogation you could very well be confessing to having violated the law.
And on the flipside of that if you speak with the police and you are not honest with them and you basically create an alibi or you lie about where you were and they then can prove that you weren’t there, then you also have damaged your case significantly.
So, I think one of the biggest mistakes I see are people that don’t understand that they have a choice and they have the right to say I do not agree to speak with you, or I will speak with you, but I want to have my lawyer with me. And that’s a huge mistake.
How Can You Avoid These Mistakes?
They can refuse to speak to the police.
And I have had this conversation, for example, with a younger client that I’ve had on a couple of occasions, they keep coming back because for little things, they get in trouble for stuff and I will say to them, if you are approached by a police officer and they ask to speak to you, just very respectfully say: “no thank you, I do not want to speak with you,” and that’s the end of it.
Tell them that you want to have your attorney present and be very clear about that, say, “I am not going to answer any other questions without my attorney,” and that should stop the interrogation process or the interview process. Don’t feel compelled to answer their questions.
So, I think that’s one of the best ways to avoid making that mistake. Also, to go back a little bit, another common mistake that people make is they don’t feel that they have the right to refuse to have a police officer search their car or to search them. And too often, they don’t understand that they have the right to refuse. Again, do it respectfully just say, “no, sir I am not going to consent to you searching my car,” or “no, sir I am not going to consent to you patting me down, or touching me.” They have the right to refuse.
And, so many times I have seen, read the reports and talked to the clients in my office where they let an officer search their car who then found something illegal simply because they didn’t know they could say no to a search.
So it’s important for all of us citizens to realize that we do have a choice and we have the right to say no.