" . . . . you
have the right to remain silent, everything you say can and will
be used against you in a court of law . . . you have the right
to the presence of an attorney during all questioning . . . . if
you wish to have an attorney present and cannot afford one, an
attorney will be appointed to you at no cost . . ."
DO NOT TALK
TO THE POLICE!
concept of your Miranda rights is very simple.
It means exactly what it says. You do not have to talk to the
police without an attorney present. The police must read
you your rights if they want to ask you questions which might
incriminate you and you are either under arrest for some
criminal offense or otherwise detained and deprived of freedom
cases have been won by the prosecutor and police by the mere
fact that persons suspected of crimes simply to do not keep
their mouths shut when the police ask them questions. This is
especially true of the DUI or DRUNK DRIVING case. There is
nothing more harmful to the defense of a DUI or other criminal case than to
have the prosecution use your own words against you.
Admissions play well with a jury. They simply ask
themselves, "Why would he say that to the police if it wasn't
true?". Prosecutors now this and will cram your own words
down your throat.
So what do
we do when the police want to ask questions after a traffic
stop? If you haven't been drinking answer the questions.
However, if you have been drinking, even if it is only one
"little bitty" beer - POLITELY REFUSE TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS.
Be aware of your Arizona
There is no requirement
under Arizona law that requires you to speak with the police, or to answer
their questions. If you have been drinking, the police are most
likely going to figure it out anyway. You are most likely going
to be arrested. There is nothing you can say that will
prevent that. You cannot talk your way out of the arrest.
Begging, pleading, crying for the officer to "Give You A Break"
will just be used against you in court to prove that you were
impaired, knew that you were impaired, and were trying to
convince the officer just to let you go. This is proof of
consciousness of guilt and it is admissible against you in court.
avoid speaking with the officer at all costs. Tell him or
her that you are not going to speak with them under any
your driver license, registration and insurance paperwork and
remain seated in the vehicle.
officer asks you to get out of the car, explain that you are not
going to take any field tests under any circumstances.
Tell the officer to charge you with an offense or let you go.
generally draw the response that you are under arrest. The
officer will then ask you to get out of the car. At this
point you must comply with the officer or be charged with
out of the car, hold out your hands for the handcuffs, and keep
your mouth shut.
Arizona cannot arrest you for civil traffic violations.
However, you will probably be arrested for DUI or some other
criminal offense and taken to jail. This will basically be
"contempt of cop" at this point. In the police officer's
mind, you have not done as asked even though it is your legal
right to do so. Police officers want to be in control.
They do not like NOT being in control in any given
situation. By exercising your right not to speak with him and
take his field tests you are exercising control. The officer
will most likely decide he is going to "show you" who is in
control and place you under arrest and take you to jail. If this
happens, don't freak out, you will most likely be released
within a few hours.
If you are
arrested for DUI, the police officer will most likely invoke
"implied consent" in order to get a breath or blood test from
you. In Arizona you must submit to this breath or blood
test or lose your driver license for 1 year. Even if you
refuse to take the test, the police will get a search warrant
and strap you down and take your blood if necessary. For more information on this subject visit "Implied
don't worry about being taken to jail. You will most likely be
released on your own recognizance within a few hours. A
few hours of jail is better than cooperating with the police in
providing evidence that they will later use against you in court
to try and convict you of DUI.
. . . . . it is true, that what
you don't say to the police won't hurt you!
DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE!
Below are some
general considerations and information regarding your Miranda
WHAT DO I
DO WHEN THE POLICE COME KNOCKING ?
If the police
are investigating criminal activity and you are not a suspect
but a potential witness or you have other information which
could be helpful to their investigation then it is your civic
duty to cooperate and help as much as possible.
However, if you
think for even an instant, and I am talking nano-seconds here,
that the police suspect you of some criminal activity, Refuse
to do any talking. Just politely say NO! --- not
without the presence of an attorney!
Don't fall into
the clever police ploy of "we just want to get
your side of the story". Police do want your side
of the story so they can use it against you in a future
prosecution. Police are experts at interrogation. You are
not an expert at being interrogated, and if you speak to the
police without an attorney present, you will be at their mercy
and likely provide them information which could lead to criminal
charges and a possible conviction.
Don't think for
an instant that if you just tell your story the police will
understand. They don't and won't. You are not as smart or as
clever as you think you are when speaking with the police. You
are not going to talk them into or out of anything. This
is especially true if you have been drinking or using drugs.
If you are drunk, stoned, loaded, or whatever, you will be
especially easy pickins' for the police. You don't stand a
chance. If the police suspect you of a criminal offense
the easiest way to get a conviction is with words out of your
mouth. They will do anything they can within the confines of the
law to get you to speak with them. Do not help them out. KEEP YOUR MOUTH
You have an
absolute right to legal representation during any police
questioning. Don't let the police try to convince you
otherwise. The police can lie to you, and trick you into
talking to them. In Arizona, police can tape-record your
telephone conversations with them, without your permission.
NEVER speak to a police officer over the telephone for any
The police may
say something to you like -- "if you didn't do anything
wrong what do you have to hide, just tell us what happened".
I will be more than happy to speak with you with my attorney
present, when would you like to schedule an appointment ?
What generally will happen at this point is the police will lose
interest in speaking with you. Why? If you have an
attorney present, the attorney will prevent you from
incriminating yourself, which is exactly what the police want
you to do. It makes their job easier. It is easier
to convict you in court if you have made some statement to the
police or even other people about your involvement.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE "MIRANDA"
seen on TV the police reading someone their rights. You
know . . "you have the right to remain silent . . .
anything you say will be used against you in court."
A common mistake made regarding this "reading of
rights" is most people think the police have to read you
these rights before they ask you any questions.
NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER
FROM THE TRUTH !! The police are only
required to "read" you your "rights" prior
to custodial interrogation. This means the police only
have to read you your rights if you are in their custody,
generally under arrest and not free to leave their presence, and
they want to ask you questions. If the police don't want
to ask you questions after they arrest you, they don't have to
read you these rights.
If you are not in custody,
for example, the police come to your house, or call you on the
phone and want to speak with you, the police do not have
to read you your rights prior to questioning. If you
remotely think the police suspect you of some criminal activity,
respectfully decline to answer any questions without the
presence of an attorney.
The police can
stop you on the roadway walking or driving your car, place you
in handcuffs and call it investigative detention or officer
safety reasons, ask you all sorts of questions and they are not
required to read you your rights. Why don't they have to
read you your rights? Because, under the law,
investigative detention or being placed in handcuffs for officer
safety reasons is not considered under arrest.
Some final thoughts.
If you decide not to follow the above suggestions and decide to
speak with the police without the presence of an attorney DO NOT
speak with them unless the conversation is tape-recorded.
Most reputable police officers will not have a problem with
this. Insist on it. In fact if you are able take a
tape-recorder with you and make your own copy. Do not rely
on a police officer taking notes or assuring you that a report
will be written. Police will often times
"forget" to put in notes or reports facts which are
favorable to you. Police sometimes suffer from faulty
memory as to exactly what was said during the conversation,
especially when recalling the conversation in court. So if
you must speak with the police without an attorney present,
insist on the conversation being tape-recorded.
DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE!