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Police demanding honesty- Fairfax criminal lawyer responds

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Police demanding honesty do not tell you that suspects’ silence is not dishonest, says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Police demanding honesty riddles bodycamera footage produced in discovery by the Fairfax prosecutor’s office and beyond. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I repeatedly hear police urge “Be honest” when seeking admissions from criminal suspects. More recently, a Virginia police video that I reviewed showed a law enforcement officer (LEO) urging along the lines of: “I have been honest with you; you’ve gotta be honest with me.” What is your preference, to do the cop’s bidding to answer questions when you have the right to remain silent with police (and silence ordinarily is not dishonesty), or — within the bounds of law — to be loyal to your rights and interests? What are your rights and interests? They certainly do not include waiving your right to remain silent and your right to refuse police searches.

Do I have to answer Virginia police questions before LEO tells me my Miranda rights to remain silent and to a lawyer?

Your Fifth Amendment Constitutional right to remain silent is your complete right every moment that you are on American soil. Virginia police know that many criminal suspects are more likely to answer LEO  questions before the suspects are informed of their Miranda rights to remain silent and to have an attorney present. Police demanding to be honest commonly are found speaking that way before giving Miranda rights. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)

Consequently many police delay arresting suspects — which event triggers the need to read suspects their Miranda rights — until they fully interrogate the suspect. When considering that most people probably know from mass media about their Miranda rights, it  would seem counterintuitive that many people mistakenly believe that their right to remain silent does not take effect until police Mirandize them. However, such mistakes seem to persist among many people.

Must I call police back they leave me their business card or leave me a message?

Unsettling to many people is when they receive a visit or phone call from a police officer. Many of us go about our daily lives, intent on doing well at work, helping our families, and being with our friends. The call from police demanding a phone call back can upend that feeling of wellbeing. If you do not want your well being challenged even more, it is important that you know your right not to return police phone calls. Granted, sometimes police call to inform suspects of an open arrest(s) warrant, which generally is something the accused want to know about, although it would be great if the police would simply leave that information on one’s voicemail or otherwise. One of the wisest decisions you can make after law enforcement visits you is to meet with a reliable Virginia criminal defense lawyer, so that your new lawyer can now be your communications go-between with the police.

Do I have to consent to searches for Virginia police demanding them?

When you decline all Virginia police requests for searches from police demanding them, you will thank yourself. I am talking about verbally declining searches. Then, if police search anyway, your lawyer can argue that the police were hiding something.

How good are police officers’ memories of their interactions with Virginia criminal suspects?

When people receive information and data overload — including with police demanding information from you — their recall and perception of that information can be skewed, sometimes to a criminal defendant’s disadvantage. You are already providing the Virginia police officer data that they might overload on, when they consider your movements, manner of speaking, and other non-verbal activity. Beware making the situation any worse than that by answer police questions.

How do I get out of my Virginia criminal court mess?

The best way to get out of a Virginia criminal court mess is to avoid actions and circumstances that make you a criminal suspect in the first place. If you become a criminal suspect, to remember your right to remain silent in the face of police demanding answers to their questions, and to assert your right to refuse police searches. Even if you think you have nothing to hide, your words can be twisted around by police (even when unintentional), someone else may have placed contraband in locations where you do not discuss the topics at all. When you are a potential or actual criminal suspect or defendant, that is the time for you to consult with or hire a qualified lawyer to be the one to communicate with police.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz knows he is on the side of the angels pursuing the best defense for the accused against Virginia DUI, misdemeanor and felony prosecutions. When you schedule a meeting with Jon Katz, be ready for an eye opening experience, where you likely will leave the meeting feeling more knowledgeable and confident about your defenses in Virginia criminal court. Call 703-383-1100for your free in-person initial confidential consultation with Jon about your court-pending criminal or DUI case.