Police and law enforcement are there to protect the public, which is often what they do. However, that’s not always how things work.
The reality is, there are circumstances where the police may approach you as a suspect in a criminal investigation. In all likelihood, this means that their motive has shifted from protecting you to obtaining evidence that you have committed a crime.
At this point, it is possible that nothing you say will be of any benefit to you and could be self-incriminating.
The U.S. Constitution ensures that you are protected from being forced to make statements that could be used against you in a court of law. Outlined below are some of the key benefits to invoking your right to remain silent.
You can get caught in a lie even if you’re innocent
Being suspected of a crime as an innocent person is likely to frustrate you. The natural reaction might be to protest your innocence as persuasively as possible. However, during such conversations, you could still be caught in a lie.
For example, you may forget something from your distant past and claim that you have never been in trouble with the police before. A quick search from law enforcement could prove otherwise. At this point, police may argue that you have been dishonest with them. If the case then goes to court, the prosecution could use what was a simple slip of memory to destroy your credibility at trial.
Police officers make mistakes
It is vital to remember that police officers are not immune from human error, including when they are taking statements.
You may tell the police something and they go on to note down something completely different. Subsequently, when both you and a law enforcement officer take the stand, you are left with opposing versions of events. Ultimately, this leaves you in a “your word against theirs” position in front of the jury. Is this really a chance that you are willing to take?
Understanding your legal rights will help to ensure your protection. If you find yourself facing criminal charges in Virginia, you should be fully aware of your legal rights.