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What is self-incrimination?

On Behalf of | May 11, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Being accused of a crime can be confusing, as you may not know what to do, especially if it’s your first time. As a result, you may make mistakes that can significantly affect your case and your future. One of the areas where people make mistakes is when talking to the police. Of course, you should cooperate with the police, but this does not mean incriminating yourself.

Here is what you need to know about self-incrimination:

It can be intentional or not

You can intentionally or unintentionally provide the police with information suggesting you may have been involved in a crime. You can do this knowingly when the police act like the more information you provide, the better your chances of walking away without a case. 

Police officers are well-trained in obtaining information. To do this, they may win your trust by making you believe they are on your side. In turn, you may provide them with information, hoping to protect yourself, but this may not be the case.

Contrarily, you can unintentionally self-incriminate yourself by answering questions from the police. Some officers create a case against someone before even talking to them. They use the interview to get self-incriminating statements that can support their conclusion. 

So, when you talk to the police, despite being careful, you may answer a question without taking time to analyze your response, and this can be used against you. Even the minor details you overlook can be turned major.

Can you avoid it?

When you are stopped by the police, politely decline to talk to them without legal guidance. You can also “plead the fifth.” The fifth amendment protects you if you believe answering questions may be self-incriminatory.

If you are arrested, you may need to get legal help to make moves in your best interests.