Recently, this blog outlined several things to remember when police officers or detectives question you about a crime. We wanted to expand on that topic by discussing the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) take on police interrogations.
If you are not familiar with the ACLU, it is an organization that protects the rights of Americans, especially when they are dealing with law enforcement. You already know that you do not have to answer any questions as you have the constitutional right to remain silent. Below are several more ACLU tips for handling police questions.
Do not assume that what you say is off the record
When talking with the police, they may try to encourage your participation by stating it is off the record. Be careful not to fall for this maneuver–it is merely another tactic officers use to secure your participation. Instead of answering their questions, request legal support and wait until your advocate is present before talking in-depth with officers.
Sometimes, police officers use threats to encourage cooperation
A common interrogation tactic—particularly in violent crime cases—is threatening you if you do not participate in an interview. Officers may say that your lack of cooperation will result in a grand jury subpoena to force your participation. Whether the threat is empty or not, you should still exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal support.
If you answer one question, you do not have to continue
You can invoke your right to remain silent at any time during law enforcement encounters. They cannot make you continue as it would violate your rights. If they tell you that you must continue participating because you already answered several questions, it is a tactic, not a requirement.
Take some time to familiarize yourself with your rights under the U.S. Constitution. It is also wise to learn more about defending yourself against violent crime and other charges in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.