There is nothing scarier for some people than being suspected of a crime. Whether you have done it or not is irrelevant: even being suspected can change you and your life in a range of different ways. Whether we’re talking about leaving the scene of an accident or being arrested for a DUI, you need to know what to do if you’re suspected of being a criminal.
While you can speak to a lawyer about how to beat a DUI, you still have to live with the weight of suspicion from other people, and that can be horrible!
If you are suspected of a crime, here are ten things you should know.
- Innocence doesn’t always protect you. I know, it sounds awful, doesn’t it? If you have done nothing wrong, you still need to make sure that you have excellent legal counsel. There are plenty of people littered through history who have been suspected of crimes and had their lives ruined as a result, but there has been no crime at all. You can still go to prison if you’re innocent because the onus is on the prosecution to convince the court that you have done what you are accused of doing.
- Always insist on a lawyer. You should never, ever give a statement to anyone without legal counsel. If you have been suspected of a crime, you should never give a statement to anyone. You should be polite and firm, but always say that you will speak to a lawyer before you answer any questions. Never ask if you need a lawyer, but insist upon having one. Don’t talk, don’t put pen to paper to sign anything, and don’t answer any questions without someone. A lawyer will be able to confirm if you are at risk of conviction.
- Your silence can’t be used against you – but your words can. You need to stay quiet aside from asking for a lawyer. Even when innocent, the police are not always on your side. Your lawyer will be, though.
- The police might lie to you. The police are here to make a conviction and get you talking about this crime you are suspected of. It may surprise you but did you know that the police can and will lie in order to gain a confession from you. They can lie to suspects like you to make you talk. Remain calm even when you’re innocent. Don’t give anything to them so that you can’t have anything against them.
- You might be threatened. The police may not always be on your side and if they think you’ve done something wrong, they may threaten you. You shouldn’t respond to these threats and you should not give in. These are unlawful tactics designed to get you talking and you should continue to renew your request for legal counsel. If you do give in out of fear and you decide to talk, ask to make a written statement and always start it by stating that you are making this statement because (officer name) is threatening you.
- The Miranda Rights are there to protect you. If an officer has not read you your rights, you need to stay silent and wait to speak to your lawyer.
- You should never consent to be searched. Until you speak to your lawyer, do not consent to be searched by a police officer. You should not resist, but do not consent. You will be unintentionally waiving your constitutional rights by allowing a search – and you do not have to be searched if you don’t want to be touched.
- Don’t talk to anyone else about it. If you believe that you may be suspected of a crime, don’t talk to anyone in your life besides a lawyer because you automatically implicate them in the issue, too.
- Always ask if you are free to leave. If you speak to a police officer when you are not at home and they are going to attempt to question you, you can ask them if you are free to leave or if you have been detained. If they say no, you are not free to leave, you need to insist on that lawyer we keep talking about!
- All accusations require lawyers. When you are accused of a crime, no matter how big or small, you need a lawyer by your side. Most of the time, you are going to have a lot of opportunities to prove your innocence or not, but you need to make sure that you are treated fairly at all times. Hiring the right lawyer is vital here because, without their counsel and support, you could end up talking yourself into a corner that you really don’t want to be in!
Being suspected of a crime and actually committing a crime are two different things but the effects of either can still be devastating. You need to know what to do and how to handle it while maintaining your dignity and ensuring that you are able to continue in your life at the same time. If you have actually committed a crime, speaking to a lawyer is important and the earlier you do this, the better. No one is going to be there for you more than a lawyer can be and they will be able to walk you through the entire court process.
You deserve to be treated as if you are innocent – even if you are not – and is suspected of a crime is not convicted. It’s important that you are aware of how you should behave if you are pulled up by the police, as it can be life-changing to a fault. You should be able to walk tall, and you should do this with the advice that we’ve given you through this article. The one thing that you definitely have to do is ensure that you speak to a lawyer. It’s the most important and powerful tool you have at your disposal at this juncture of life!
Jessi is a working mom to two living in Central Florida. She has a Master’s Degree in Legal Studies but decided to make her career in social media marketing and content writing. When she isn’t cooking up something new in the kitchen, she is traveling with her family and looking for new adventures!