Following an arrest, it is normal to be stressed out and overwhelmed by the gravity of the circumstances. You may be wondering: Should I agree to talk to law enforcement after being arrested? The answer is generally ‘no’—at least not without a lawyer present. You are not required to talk to the police after an arrest. In this blog post, our Mankato criminal defense attorney explains why it is so important to invoke your right to remain silent after an arrest in Minnesota.
Know Your Rights: No Defendant Can Be Compelled to Incriminate Self
The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution clearly states that “nor shall [any person] be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”. This is often referred to as your right against self-incrimination. It is the basis of your right to remain silent—both while in custody after an arrest and while on trial for a criminal offense.
If you are arrested on criminal charges in Minnesota, you do not have to give a statement to the police. Even if they ask you direct questions, you are within your right to avoid answering. That you declined to give any statement to the law enforcement officers cannot be used by prosecutors as evidence of guilt.
Your Statements Can (And Will) Be Used Against You
Once you have been arrested, you have been formally accused of committing a crime. It is the job of law enforcement officers to gather evidence that the prosecution can use to convict you of the offense. While your choice to invoke your right to remain silent cannot be used against you as evidence of guilt, any statement that you make is admissible in court. In general, police officers are supposed to read you your Miranda rights. Here are four key things to know about your Miranda Rights:
- What you say can be used against you as evidence of guilt in criminal court;
- You have the right to consult with a criminal defense attorney;
- Your lawyer can be present with you during police questioning; and
- You (or your lawyer) can stop a police interview at any time.
Cooperating With Police Questions May Be Advisable—But You Need a Lawyer
Although it is almost invariably a mistake to waive your Miranda rights and answer questions from police immediately after an arrest, it may be advisable to agree to an interview. That being said, if you are going to answer questions from police officers, you should have an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney by your side. Your lawyer will protect your best interests.
Were You Arrested in Mankato, MN?
We can help. At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Minnesota criminal defense lawyers are fierce advocates for the rights of our clients. You are innocent until proven guilty and everyone deserves their day in court. Give us a call or use our online contact form to request a confidential case assessment. With law offices in Mankato and Rochester, we provide criminal defense representation throughout all of Southern Minnesota.