How to Avoid Self Incrimination in Arizona?
If you were arrested under charges of felony or misdemeanor, you will be taken into custody, awaiting the initial appearance before a judge. Depending on the severity of the charge and the evidence presented by police, the judge may release you on bond or determine that you should await trial in custody.
These are the standard steps in a criminal case in Arizona. In this article, a criminal defense AZ law attorney will explain you how to avoid damaging your case by self incrimination while in custody.
You Have No Privacy in Custody
The term itself – custody – means that someone else has control over you and everything you say and do. Thus, the only moments when you can speak freely are the consultations with your criminal defense AZ law attorney. These are privileged conversations protected by confidentiality stemming from the lawyer-client relationship.
In any other circumstances, the law enforcement officers can and will monitor everything you say or write using any form of communication. And this is not all.
Anyone You Talk to Except from Your Criminal Defense AZ Law Attorney Can Testify against You
Another inmate, a prison guard, a friend or family member you talk to on the phone – all these persons can be subpoenaed by the prosecution to testify against you. And, even if they want to, they cannot refuse to do it; otherwise they would be charged with contempt of court.
Once again, the only person you can speak freely with is your criminal defense AZ law attorney. Resist any enticement to discuss your case or even describe what happened in your own words to anyone. Even the most innocent statement can be interpreted in a way that hurts your case.
Your Mail Is Monitored, As Well
You probably know that it is illegal to open someone else’s mail. This is a federal offense, according to 18 U.S. Code 1702 – Obstruction of correspondence. However, this federal law does not apply to mail sent and received by inmates of jail and prison facilities.
Thus, the authorities have the right to open your mail and read it – and you can be sure that they will do it. Therefore, you should clearly instruct anyone sending you letters or packages while you are in custody to refrain from mentioning any aspect, no matter how trivial, connected with your case.
At the same time, you should also censor yourself from discussing any aspect related to:
- The events that led to your arrest
- The charges against you
- The legal procedure
- The discussions with your criminal defense AZ law attorney.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
As you may have seen in movies, arresting officers must tell you your rights. They are called the Miranda Rights and start with the phrase: “you have the right to remain silent”.
These rights were enshrined in US law following the Miranda v. Arizona case of 1966. You may express your wish to remain silent in speaking, writing or electronic form.
Get the Representation You Deserve from an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer!
Being in custody does not mean that you are guilty and will receive a sentence. The US justice system is based on the presumption of innocence. And an experienced criminal defense AZ law attorney can collect evidence that proves your innocence.
However, you must also help your case by avoiding self incrimination. It is understandable that you want to unburden yourself to a fellow inmate or sympathetic guard. But refrain from that, as you may find that person taking the stand as a witness for the prosecution, testifying against you. Your lawyer is the only ally you can trust during this difficult time, so make sure that you have the best representation!