When someone is accused of committing a crime, it is critical that he or she remain protective of any legal rights that may be at risk. In a tense situation such as a confrontation with police, it may not be easy for the accused to know what rights are at stake or how to behave to avoid incriminating oneself. Seeking legal advice at the earliest possible moment is one way to set the groundwork for building a strong criminal defense strategy.
One Louisiana woman is an example of the importance of exercising one’s rights while under police questioning. The woman was arrested under suspicion of shoplifting at a local Walmart, and she apparently admitted to police that she had stolen the 25 items in her purse worth just over $130. Allegedly, she also had not paid for the purse. She was released later that day after making a $500 bond, but police were not finished with her.
The following day, officers responded to a call of a possible impaired driver, and the same woman was said to be behind the wheel of the car. This time, the woman reportedly admitted she had taken Xanax and was texting while driving. Louisiana police charged her with driving while impaired and other accusations, reckless endangerment and more, and this time authorities set her bond at $4,500.
A person’s right to remain silent is not limited to the time after an arrest. During any encounter with police, one has the right to refuse to answer questions, and also has the right to request the counsel of an attorney. Some police may take advantage of the fact that not everyone is familiar with their rights. This is why it is wise to seek the representation of a criminal defense attorney before speaking with authorities about any formal charges or criminal investigation.