It is now 2013. Just about every American has access of some sort to the Internet. Information flows freely and quickly. Whatever you want to know about is at the tip of your fingers. If you want sports news, just Google it. If you want to know how to fix your car you can Google it. If you need a recipe you can Google it. If you have an ailment you can Google it to try to find out what it is. And of course, if you want legal news just Google it. Even if you are not searching for information it appears on every page of the Internet through advertisements or pop up adds. You can’t escape the overload of information being thrown at you each day. And everyday more and more Criminal Defense Lawyers in Massachusetts and throughout the country are launching websites. And on every criminal law website, somewhere in bold print you will see a message telling you not to talk to the cops. Yet for some reason people choose to ignore this warning. They talk to the police and then get charged with a crime.
Here is what I am talking about. About two years ago a perspective client came into my office with a police report and grand jury minutes. He was charged with Rape. He denied the allegations. The police report said that Jane Doe, a pseudonym showed up at a local police station claiming that she had been raped by this man. It was about 4:00 in the afternoon when she made the report. She told the sexual assault officer that she had a date with the man the night before. She said that the two went out to dinner and then back to her apartment for a drink. Her roommate was awake watching television in an adjoining room. They started to kiss. She then claimed that the man became aggressive and digitally penetrated her. She never told her roommate. The roommate heard nothing. The complainant never went to the hospital. There were no texts between her and the defendant. Just her report to the police. So what happened next? The police went out to visit with the man. He confirmed everything that the woman told the police…except for one thing. He denied that the digital penetration was done without her consent. What? That’s right. He actually admitted to committing a sexual act that if proven to be nonconsensual would leave him with a Felony Sex Crimes Conviction. Had the man not opened his mouth he probably would not have been charged with anything at all. But now, simply because he opened his mouth he faced a Rape Charge.
So how do you handle a situation like this one. The answer is simple. Just shut your mouth. I have never had a client who was able to talk his way out of being charged with a crime. To the contrary, a large percentage of my clients charged with crimes are being charged because they did talk to the police. Keep this in mind. Your silence can never be used against you in court. You have an absolute right to remain silent and no district attorney or other prosecution witness can comment on that silence to a jury. If the police tell you that it is in your best interests to talk and cooperate with them they are lying to you. It is not in your best interests. So please keep your mouth shut.