Sunday, February 26, 2012
Minnesota Police and the 5th Amendment (Explained)
Based on a number of conversations I've had lately, it appears as though your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, as set forth in the constitution, and Minnesota Law Enforcement's job appear to be more in conflict than ever. Why? Well, the cops know that almost anything you say can hurt your criminal case and as such they'll try stop at nothing to question you. This is why, before you ever submit to any interrogation by a peace officer you should ask to have your Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney present.
Why Would Anyone - Ever - Talk to the Police?
The problem is when we are accused of and/or even just asked about something we have this natural inclination to try and explain ourselves. Where this becomes problematic is when law enforcement is involved and we try to convince them that we've done nothing wrong. What you may not know is that many police are: (1) not interested in the truth, and/or (2) already believe the first person who told them their story and, based merely on that, have already made up their minds about what happened.
Seriously, a sort of "tunnel vision" sets in - and even if you offer a plausible alternative to what they believe has happened - they just won't listen. Why? Well, believe it or not the cops are often motivated by factors other than the truth. For example, they may be in a hurry with only a few minutes to spend on a certain case - and they just want to write their report, issue a summons and be done it. At other times, they have a number of open files - stacked up one after another - so they get lazy. Or, they may not like you for some reason and have no interest in finding another suspect responsible for the crime your accused of committing. Therefore, it is simplest to just charge you --- and maybe the "truth" will get worked out later. Finally, they may just want a conviction statistic more than they want the truth.
The Real Problem
The number one issue, in my opinion, is that law enforcement all too often believe the first person to call them - and from there on out (once they've talked to their "victim") they make up in their minds about what happened. And, as a result, they talk with you (or anyone on your side) using that filter - listening only for incriminating statements and interpreting your words in a conviction oriented manner. Honestly, they pretend to want to get at the truth only to keep a suspect talking. Then, they write down all the negative things you say and ignore the positive.
Somehow, individuals accused in criminal cases forget that police are experts in getting convictions and that they are not your friend. Convictions are their job and they are good at it. Only with silence can the accused stop police in their tracks.
What Are You Going to Do?
If you have been contacted by police, exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and call The Rolloff Law Office at (612) 234-1165. Together, we can protect you, your family and your future.