I am Innocent, Should I take the 5th?
The scenario goes like this…. Your name came up in a police investigation. You were near the place where the alleged crime occurred. The police want to talk you.
You want to clear your name and you have nothing to hide, but…
should you give a statement or plead the 5th and Invoke your Miranda Rights?
PLEAD THE 5TH—INVOKE YOUR RIGHTS! But Why?
- Although you may not think you would ever be tricked into a false confession, it happens every day. Innocent people are tricked, worn down, misquoted and sometimes even convinced that maybe they are guilty. (google “false confessions” or turn on Netflix and you will be shocked to see how often it really happens)
- Law Enforcement Officers are not interrogating you to help prove your innocence; their job is to solve crimes and make arrests. (although you are telling the truth; Officers have no obligation to be honest with you. They can lie to you. They can tell you that other people accused you or they have evidence implicating you. These tactics are permissible during their investigation/interrogation of a suspect)
- During statements to Police, your words may be misquoted, making something innocent seem guilty. (your statement may unknowingly put you at a crime scene or location where evidence is found; it may fit into the Officer’s theory of the crime)
- Your explanation of the facts may be misinterpreted and make you look guilty, even if you are not (If you’ve never watched the scenes in the movie My Cousin Vinny where Billy asks, “I shot the Clerk?” and then in Court the Sheriff says he confessed by admitting, “I shot the Clerk!” - you should watch it)
- Wrong inferences can be drawn from your Statement (how many times have you misinterpreted what someone else meant and only found out later that you misunderstood what they were saying?)
- By exercising your Right to Remain Silent, you are protecting the Constitutional Rights of all United States Citizens. (The right to remain silent was created by our Founding Fathers in 1791 to protect citizens. They fought hard to give this right to all Citizens. The purpose of Miranda (decided in 1966) is to avoid false confessions. Rights are like everything else, if we don’t use them, we lose them!)
So… if you find yourself the subject of Law Enforcement questioning:
INVOKE YOUR RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT,
EXERCISE YOUR MIRANDA RIGHTS,
TAKE THE FIFTH, and
ASK FOR AN ATTORNEY!