While police officers in Michigan are trusted to keep residents safe and do their best to prevent crime, there are many “secrets” cops keep close to their vest – secrets they don’t want those accused of crimes to know. Why is this? Basically, if individuals suspected of committing crimes were aware of police secrets, prosecutors likely would not secure the number of convictions they do today as a result of police investigations.
It’s important to keep in mind that police officers make a living not only protecting the public, but making arrests and assisting in case preparation for prosecutors. Keeping this in mind, if you’re a suspect in a criminal case, why should you help the police gain the upper hand in an investigation that could result in criminal charges and a possible conviction? Number one, if you’re a suspect you should never incriminate yourself – this is a right guaranteed by our Constitution.
What are some of those “secrets” law enforcement keep close to the vest, hoping suspects aren’t aware of?
First, police may interrogate you relentlessly – but you are not required to answer questions. Police are notorious for interrogating suspects for hours on end; if you’ve ever watched an episode of Dateline, you’re probably aware of this. They’ll use every tactic to break you down, wear you out, and have you admit to something you may not have even done. Cooperating with police when you are innocent doesn’t make you look trustworthy in court – it simply fuels the fire. When in custody, police must give you your Miranda Rights, which basically state you have the right to remain silent. Use this right, and do not answer questions when being interrogated without the presence of your lawyer.
It is legal for police to lie in order to get suspects to incriminate themselves or confess to a crime. While it seems this should be unlawful, police can tell you anything they like. Even if you’re completely innocent, police may say another person claimed you were involved in a crime in order to get you to admit guilt. Police may also convince suspects that if they just admit to the crime, they’ll be better off and probably won’t spend time in prison or jail. Keep in mind that the only person who determines whether you will be sentenced and what that sentence will be in Michigan is a judge. Additionally, prosecutors make the decision as to whether a suspect will be charged with a crime – not police officers. Know that police can (and probably are) lying, and keep your mouth closed. It truly is in your best interest!
Police officers make many mistakes, just as all humans do. While they won’t admit it, police often violate the Constitutional rights of the person they’re investigating. It could be an illegal or unreasonable search and seizure, entering a home without the proper warrant, etc. What you may not know is that if law enforcement officials make a mistake that violates your Constitutional rights, the evidence obtained or statements will not be allowed in court. This is one reason it is critical to work with a criminal defense attorney when you are a suspect, as lawyers who focus on this practice area are well aware of the mistakes police often make that could work to your advantage.
Rarely is it recommended a suspect consents to a search, whether of your vehicle, body, or home. Asking for your consent to search is a ploy often used by police to gain your permission so they can avoid going through the motions to get an authorized search warrant. The thing is, in order to obtain a search warrant police generally need reasonable suspicion or probable cause; asking your consent may indicate there is lack of proof of any wrongdoing to obtain a search warrant. It’s important to know that if you give consent for a search, police have the authority to search your car, home, even your body. This could result in the gathering of incriminating evidence, so in most cases it is not a good idea to consent to a search. Don’t make police officers’ jobs easier; make them go through the necessary channels to obtain a search warrant.
You may be free to go and not even realize it. Cops don’t normally come out and tell a suspect he/she is free to go. During questioning, police may use threats such as telling you there will be tough charges to face if you don’t admit guilt. If you’re just being questioned and haven’t been arrested, it’s fairly safe to assume you don’t have to sit there and take the grueling interrogation. Politely as the officer if you are being detained or are free to go. If you’re free to go, do so immediately and contact a defense attorney. If you are being detained, say nothing more other than you want to speak to an attorney – that’s it. Don’t answer any other questions, or make any statements.
Certainly police officers work to keep the cities in Michigan safe, however they absolutely resort to devious tactics when it comes to suspects and attempting to get an arrest so that prosecutors can file criminal charges. Understand that you do have rights, and don’t make the situation worse for yourself than it already is. The most important step you can take whether or not you have been arrested is to seek the guidance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer.