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The Principles of Police Interrogations in Massachusetts: Everything You Need to Know
If you have never been interrogated by the police, your only knowledge of police interrogations probably comes from TV shows and films about detectives. But are these police interrogation scenes depicted on TV bear any resemblance to reality?
Moreover, those of you who have been arrested or asked to come down to the station to be interviewed are probably wondering:
- What do the police do during an interrogation?
- Should you talk to the police?
- What should you say during the police interrogation?
- Can you remain silent?
- Can you request the presence of your criminal defense attorney?
- What are your rights during an interrogation?
Let’s address these questions (and many others) in our blog post. If you have not found the right answer, get a free consultation from our Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Richard Mucci.
What You Need to Know About Police Interrogations in Massachusetts
First and foremost, let’s outline your rights during a police interrogation in Massachusetts. The most basic rights during police interrogations are:
- You have a right to invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent;
- Your police interrogation should be held in the presence of your lawyer. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will provide one; and
- The burden of proof that you committed a crime is on the prosecutor (in other words, you do not have to tell anything to prove that you are innocent, because you do not have the burden to prove your innocence).
If you have been asked by the police to come down to the station for an interview, respond with these words, “I want to talk to my lawyer first.” Then, contact a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney to discuss your defense strategy.
The Role of Miranda Warnings in Police Interrogations
The Miranda warning is a mandatory notification given by arresting police officers to advise criminal suspects of their constitutional right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney before statements.
In other words, police officers are required by law to give Miranda warnings to protect a criminal suspect’s right to avoid self-incrimination when providing information to law enforcement.
Police officers are required to give Miranda warnings when a suspect is in police custody and when they are subject to interrogation. A person need not be given a Miranda warning immediately during an arrest unless they are subject to questioning.
Can You Invoke the Right to Remain Silent During a Police Interrogation?
You can invoke the right to remain silent if you are a criminal suspect who:
- Is being subject to a police interrogation;
- Is being questioned by police officers; and
- Receives a statement from the police meant to elicit a self-incriminating response.
Any criminal suspect in Massachusetts may invoke the right to remain silent by telling law enforcement or police officers that they do not wish to tell anything or answer any questions. A suspect may invoke the right if they wish to say nothing until their Massachusetts criminal defense attorney arrives.
In that situation, if a police officer continues to press you for an answer, your Fifth Amendment rights have been violated. Furthermore, any statements and responses elicited from a criminal suspect in violation of his or her Fifth Amendment right are considered inadmissible in court.
However, no Miranda rights are required if the interrogation is not custodial. A police interrogation is “custodial” if the suspect feels free to leave the interrogation or police interview room.
Watch Out for These Illegal Police Tricks During an Interrogation
It is not uncommon for police officers and “detectives” to use illegal tricks to get a criminal suspect to confess to a criminal offense or get him/her talking.
- Lying to get a confession. Police are known to invent witnesses who “told everything,” fabricate details of what witnesses said or saw, refer to some inexistent pieces of evidence, and say that the suspect’s accomplices have confessed and/or blamed the suspect. Some police officers can get even more creative than that to get a confession. However, never accept these claims at face value. Instead, hire a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney who will make sure that the police are not making false claims.
- Promising leniency or reduced charge. You have seen it on TV plenty of times. The investigator or detective promises the suspect to get him or her lenience or a reduced charge in exchange for cooperation during an interrogation. The problem is, however, that the police have no control over what charge the suspect will face. Only the prosecutor has the authority to carry out these “promises”).
- Saying the suspect can speak “off the record.” There is no such thing as speaking “off the record” during a police interrogation in Massachusetts. In fact, the Miranda warning begins with the words “anything you say can and will be used against you” for a reason. That is why you should not tell anything without your Massachusetts criminal defense attorney.
- Saying the suspect’s silence is a sign of guilt. Police officers can get annoyed when criminal suspects invoke their right to remain silent, which is why some of them choose to falsely claim that the suspect’s silence will be taken as a sign of guilt. They cannot arrest or charge you for refusing to answer questions.
Why You Need a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been brought in for questioning, police interrogation, or asked to come down to the police station in Massachusetts, do not hesitate to contact a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney before any charges are filed.
Here at The Law Offices of Richard Mucci, our best criminal defense lawyers in Massachusetts will stand beside you to protect your freedom and ensure that your Fifth Amendment rights are not violated during a police interrogation. Call at 781-729-3999 for a free consultation.