What Is Self-Incrimination?

When a person is arrested, one of the most dangerous things they can do is incriminate themselves. So, what is self-incrimination, and why is it so important to hire an attorney as soon as possible?

Understanding Arrest

When police perform an arrest they do so after confirming probable cause. Probable cause is a requirement under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution that says that law enforcement must have evidence that a crime may have been committed. Once proper evidence is collected, law enforcement must obtain a warrant to investigate further. Police cannot make an arrest without probable cause and a warrant.

Miranda Rights

Once law enforcement has probable cause and a warrant, they can perform an arrest. Police are required to inform people of their Miranda Rights. Named after the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona Supreme Court case. Miranda Rights state that if a person is arrested, they have the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to a state-appointed attorney if the individual cannot afford one.

The Right to Remain Silent

One of the most important rights available to recently arrested individuals is the right to remain silent. This right exists to prevent self-incrimination. The period between an arrest and release or police custody is the most tenuous in that many people may feel pressured to admit to the crime whether they committed it or not. This is self-incrimination.

Self-Incrimination in Practice

Self-incrimination can happen in a number of ways. A person may accidentally say something that suggests involvement or knowledge of the crime. For example, a person may say that they only drove the car and had no idea their friends would commit a crime. By saying this, the person is actively admitting to aiding and abetting.

It’s also important to note that there may be significant pressure to admit guilt while under arrest. Police may be more aggressive with questioning which puts pressure on the individual to confess or supply information in order to alleviate the stress of the situation.

Other individuals may feel immense guilt regardless of whether they engaged in criminal acts. In many cases, investigators may exploit guilt during questioning to get a confession quickly. People may break under these conditions, and incriminate themselves unfairly.

Why You Need an Attorney

Along with the right to remain silent, individuals have the right to an attorney. An attorney can advocate for their client from arrest to arraignment and trial. When a person as a lawyer present for questioning, the attorney can direct the interrogation and decide which responses, if any, better serve their client. For example, an attorney may refuse to answer a question on behalf of their client if answering could lead to self-incrimination.

Individuals are vulnerable after an arrest and are at risk of facing harsher penalties than they deserve. It is crucial that people contact an attorney as soon as possible after an arrest.

Entrust Your Case to Hester Law Group

If you have been arrested, you must contact an attorney as soon as possible. At Hester Law Group we understand how precarious the early stages of a case can be and how much pressure exists to incriminate yourself. Our attorneys have over 130 years of combined experience to put toward your case. Our team of legal professionals can investigate the circumstances surrounding your case and provide comprehensible legal counsel backed by experience and a successful track record.

Contact Hester Law Group today.