Sunday, November 23, 2008

When Law Enforcement Comes Knocking, Know Your Rights

Martha Steward didn't go to jail because she committed a crime. She went to jail because when she was interviewed by federal investigators regarding insider trading she made a statement that was found out to be false. Never speak, you have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Don't be fooled.

Every day suspects are questioned by law enforcement. Often they are approached with the line, "We know you didn't do anything, but we are investigating 'so and so', and we want to ask you a few questions. You have nothing to worry about ... Can we have a few moments of your time." This trick is simple but effective. This is especially dangerous when you are being questioned by federal officials, who know, but know you don't know, that anything that you say that is false is a crime under federal law. You can be completely innocent of any crime, but if you say something that is not truthful, you have committed a federal crime.

Never Give Up Your Constitutional Rights

Once you give up your constitutional right to remain silent and speak to law enforcement that right is lost forever, and cannot be reclaimed. Not only may you implicate yourself, but you now have to trust that the agent that interviewed you was honest in what you told him. In the event that you are charged with a crime, or become a target of the investigation, those answers will be used against you. Further, you now have to trust that the agent who interviewed you was honest, and did'nt write things in his written report that you never admitted to. If the agent is "dirty", or takes things you say out of context, you will now have to deny those statements, and to do so, you would have to take the stand at trial, and call the agent, a liar. A position that no criminal defendant wants to place himself in.

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Tel. No. (908) 354-7007

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