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Bompadre Law

How Do People Unintentionally Incriminate Themselves?


People unintentionally incriminate themselves by making statements to the police that give the police reason to charge them with a crime. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand their rights; they think that if an officer approaches them, then they have an obligation to engage the officer. That’s understandable, because people are scared and the police can be intimidating. I know this, because I used to be a police officer. The fact that many people fear the police is part of the reason that officers are able to obtain so much information from them. In addition, many people think that they can talk their way out of something once they have been arrested. In an attempt to do so, they will volunteer information that can give rise to additional charges that the police hadn’t even thought of when they began asking questions.

I’ve seen this happen multiple times as a police officer, as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney. It’s important for people to understand that they do not have to go to the police station just because an officer asks them to. The first thing someone should ask an officer is whether or not they have a warrant for their arrest. If they do not have a warrant for a person’s arrest, then they can’t make that person go anywhere.

How And When Do Miranda Rights Come Into Play In A Criminal Case?

There are two factors that have to be present before the police have to give you the Miranda warnings and advise you of your right to counsel. First, you have to be in custody, which means that you have to be physically detained to the point that you’re not free to leave. This usually occurs only once someone has been placed under arrest, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. The police have to have physical control over you and want to ask you questions about the crime for which you’re being charged.

For example, an officer might say “I’m placing you under arrest for DUI,” places you in the back of the police car, and then says, “By the way, I just want to ask you a couple of questions. We have an unsolved homicide- do you know anything about it?” If this were the case, the Miranda warnings would not apply because the officer would be questioning you about a crime unrelated to the reason for your arrest. However, if the officer were to question you about what you had to eat that night, how much you had to drink or anything else of that nature, then he would have to Mirandize you. So, in order for the Miranda warnings to apply, you have to be in physical custody and there has to be an interrogation or questioning about the crime for which you’ve been arrested.

How Do You Advise People Who Want Their Case Dismissed Because They Were Not Mirandized?

The Pennsylvania State Police have a habit of reading Miranda warnings to DUI suspects. They also have to read you what are called the O’Connell warnings, which state that you can’t refuse the officer’s request for you to submit to a chemical test. So, what that means is that the police officer will say, “You don’t have the right to refuse the chemical test.” Then they will immediately turn around and tell you that you have a right to speak to a lawyer. However, according to the O’Connell warnings, a person does not have a right to speak to anyone before submitting to or refusing a chemical test. As a result, people get confused because they have been read contradictory rights. This type of confusion is very common in DUI cases that involve the State Police. When I was a police officer, we were trained not to read Miranda warnings because we didn’t have to. We were taught that even if a person is in custody, asking them about taking a chemical test really has nothing to do with it.

How Does Having A Good Prior Record Impact A Criminal Case?

Having a good prior record can really help a defendant. The DA is going to treat someone who has a long criminal history very differently than someone who has never before been in trouble. In addition, having a good job can matter in terms of whether or not a person will get bail. The judges look at both of these factors when making decisions.

For more information on Self-Incrimination In A Criminal Case, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (484) 854-3371 today.

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