Strategies to avoid self-incrimination
If you’ve been accused of a crime you may instinctively try to defend yourself on the spot. After all the truth of an accusation doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have the potential to damage your reputation and career.
But rushing to your own defense during an arrest, interrogation or trial can be detrimental to your case.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution can protect you from self-incrimination and help keep your own words from being used against you.
Here’s how to take advantage of the Fifth Amendment and avoid self-incrimination after being charged with a crime.
Invoke your rights and hire an attorney
In a properly executed arrest you will be informed of your right to remain silent. Remaining silent can be one of the most effective ways to avoid self-incrimination. It’s important to remember that anything you say and do– and we mean everything – can be used against you in court.
The arresting officer should inform you of your right to an attorney and your right to be represented by a public defender if you cannot afford an attorney. Seasoned attorneys can help you in avoiding self-incrimination during an interrogation or trial.
Taking advantage of your right to an attorney may help you from falling victim to the traps set by law enforcement officers and prosecutors.
Refrain from discussing the case with others
After an arrest you may be tempted to take to social media and share details of the case with your friends but this can be a critical mistake.
It is always a good practice to assume that your posts will be shown to a judge or jury. Even if you don’t believe that you’re revealing anything that could harm your case it may be good practice to leave your criminal charges off of the web.
The same rings true when discussing an open case with your close friends and family. If the prosecution chooses to call them as witnesses and testify against you they will be compelled to tell the truth. Revealing facts of your case to anyone – even people you trust – can be a recipe for disaster.
Resisting the temptation to jump to your own defense can be challenging but can be an effective way to protect yourself from a conviction. Asserting your rights can help you avoid becoming your own worst enemy in a trial.
Remember – silence does not equal guilt.