Loose Lips Still Sink Ships-Yours–Remember Your Right to Remain Silent by Bo Kalabus

By Bo Kalabus
bo@kalabuslaw.com
Office: 972-562-7549
24 Hour Jail Release 214-402-4364

“Look officer, if I could just explain…” Stop right there! Police officers love it when a person they have pulled over or a suspect they are investigating just opens up and starts to talk. The reason the police love it so much when you talk is it saves them a lot of time–because the talking usually results in an admission of guilt from you. “Oh no!” you think, “I would never do something like that!” Trust me, it happens all the time and you don’t know the damage you have done to yourself until…you know.

For example, lets say you have just been pulled over by the police and the officer walks up and asks if you know why he is stopping you–almost everyone that has ever been pulled over has heard this. What do you say?–“Well officer, I rolled through that stop sign back there, I’m really sorry, and it will never happen again.” Bam, you just admitted you disregarded a stop sign and in the best scenario you will get a ticket for it. The police don’t really care if you are sorry, or if this is the first time you have been in trouble.

Let’s make it a much worse scenario–let’s add that while you made that statement to the officer, he smelled alcohol on your breath. Let’s also add the officer thought you rolled through the stop sign, but from where he was parked he could not see you at the intersection because his line of sight of your vehicle was obstructed by trees. Although this is the case, he stops you anyway. Finally, let’s add that as a result of your performance on the field sobriety tests you are arrested for DWI.

Continuing with the scenario–you are now facing criminal charges and hire a criminal defense lawyer. That lawyer goes to the scene and looks over the intersection and sees the problem with the officer’s line of sight–if the officer did not see you roll the stop sign then he lacked reasonable suspicion based on our example to stop you in the first place. The now excited lawyer files a motion to suppress the stop (because the lawyer has the State right where he wants them) and sets the motion for hearing. This is a big deal because if the lawyer gets the stop thrown out then the case will be over because all evidence obtained after the bad stop would also be tainted. Well, at the hearing the judge and the now shocked lawyer learn all about how you admitted to the police officer that you ran the stop sign. And with that testimony from the police officer (and the in-car video evidence which shows your admission of just how it happened), the judge denies the motion and a great chance to get the case tossed is lost. This may sound extreme to you, but this type of scenario gets played out over and over again.

Every criminal offense has elements to it. It’s been my experience that if an officer or detective is asking you questions he/she is fishing for information to meet the requirements of the charged offense. And people fall into the trap just about all the time. Why? Simple–most folks are taught from an early age to respect authority and want to cooperate with the police even though it is to that person’s detriment. Why would a person do that?–most people just don’t comprehend how serious the trouble is that they are in. Also, the deck is stacked against the individual big time because the police officer is highly trained in questioning, which results most times in people talking themselves into more trouble than they can talk themselves out of.

So if one day you find yourself in a situation where you are being questioned or in a “friendly talk” with a police officer, remember that you have the right to remain silent and I highly recommend you exercise that right.

 

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