In a recent interview criminal defense attorney Benjamin L. McGowan, at Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers in Chattanooga, TN revealed the reasons why people should never speak with the police, particularly if they are innocent. —
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When asked for a comment, McGowan said, “Many of my clients who come to me simply don’t understand what their rights are, particularly when stopped by the police, and how not exercising those rights could ultimately work against them in a court of law.”
One thing that McGowan stresses to his clients, is that they should exercise their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
“If an officer considers you a suspect, then you should remain silent. Because many people are afraid that they are not complying with law enforcement and will be seen by police as some evidence of guilt, I reassure my clients that officers are not allowed to arrest them for not responding to their questions. They must have probable cause to carry out an arrest,” he said.
Furthermore, McGowan said that a little-known fact is that law enforcement can use what you say during a police stop against
you at a later date. What anyone who has been stopped by the police needs to do, McGowan says, is that all citizens must typically provide information such as a name, date of birth, and address.
McGowan explained that by revealing more than basic identifying information to an officer, many people unintentionally incriminate themselves, which could ultimately lead to a conviction.
When asked to elaborate, he said, “Because officers are trained in obtaining admissions of guilt and confessions, they will often use several methods to get suspects to incriminate themselves. These techniques include misleading the person or even using deception in the questioning of that person in any number of ways.”
McGowan further urges his clients never to agree to a police interview without the presence of legal representation.
“If you don’t have a lawyer, request that you speak with one or remain completely silent”.
A seasoned criminal defense attorney will be widely versed in the common scenarios that law enforcement has been trained to use while interviewing suspects.
When asked to provide an example, McGowan said, “A common situation that I see with clients is where law enforcement has lied to the person by saying that they have witnesses or other evidence to prove guilt. This often leads the suspect to break down and provide potentially incriminating information, though even innocent information is sometimes twisted by police to fit their version of the facts rather than reporting what the person actually told the police.”
"What many people don't know – but what defense attorneys do know – is that officers are allowed to lie to suspects during an interview,” he continued.
No matter the case, McGowan added, the best thing to do is to avoid telling anything other than the necessary identifying information when asked by police.
“Knowing and exercising your rights to remain silent with law enforcement will ultimately protect you and strengthen your defense if charges are brought against you. If the case proceeds, then remaining silent will provide your defense attorney the best possible chance to prepare a robust defense on your behalf,” he said.
Name: Benjamin L. McGowan
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Organization: Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers
Address: 735 Broad Street, Suite 800 Chattanooga, TN 37402-2913
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Release ID: 88983435