If a crime has been committed, then the police are going to want to identify a suspect. In some cases, they might mistakingly identify you as a person of interest.
When this happens, you will most likely be brought in for questioning. You might even be arrested or charged. So, how should you respond, and what are your rights during questioning by law enforcement?
You can remain silent
Other than information pertaining to who you are, you are not obliged to tell law enforcement anything. This is a fundamental right commonly referred to as your “Miranda rights”, which are consolidated by the Fifth Amendment. Law enforcement may try to persuade you to open up by suggesting that staying quiet implies that you are guilty of something. This is not true and invoking your Miranda rights should never be taken as a sign of guilt.
Police officers may go one step further and attempt to get a subpoena. While you must carefully follow the instructions of any subpoena, it still cannot force you to say anything that might be self-incriminating.
Staying calm is important
It is only natural to want to protest your innocence in a situation where you have been wrongly accused, but it is vital to remain patient. While you are perfectly entitled to follow your Fifth Amendment rights, this does not mean that you have to be ill-mannered. Being confrontational will only serve to heighten your stress levels and you could end up facing separate charges, which will remain even if the initial charges are dropped.
It is crucial to note that it is up to the prosecution to establish your guilt. Until such time, you are innocent. Facing criminal charges is a serious issue and if you find yourself in this position, keep your legal rights in mind.