When police officers in Tennessee arrest someone or begin investigating them based on suspicion of their involvement in criminal activity, the suspect has certain rights. People have constitutional protection from unreasonable searches and inappropriate police officer conduct.
All too often, those in police custody or subject to an investigation fail to make use of their basic rights, which will eventually put them at a major disadvantage when they go to court. For example, almost everyone has a basic understanding of the right to remain silent. People know that they don’t have to speak to police officers while in state custody.
However, many people, eager to prove themselves innocent, talk to the police anyway. What they don’t realize is that they could be putting themselves at risk of criminal prosecution.
Questioning can make innocent people look guilty
Those who know that they should not be the focus of police attention are often eager to exonerate themselves. They both want to avoid prosecution and to help the police find the actual person who broke the law. Talking to police officers would seem like the most reasonable way of achieving both of those goals.
What many people fail to recognize is that officers frequently employ interrogation techniques that can make even innocent people look guilty in court. For example, police officers may ask leading questions and then use someone’s responses as a means of establishing that they had the intent to commit a crime.
On the other hand, the details that someone knows about a situation might make them seem guilty even though they only provided that information to help the police solve the case. Finally, officers will often ask the same questions over and over while subjecting someone to hours of questioning. People who contradict themselves or change their answers to questions can look unreliable at best or like liars at worst, both of which could affect their chances of a conviction if the matter goes to court.
Even those who actively assert their innocence still have the right to bring in an attorney if they want to cooperate with police officers during their investigation. Those with a lawyer present may have an easier time avoiding scenarios in which police questioning makes someone look guilty and put them at risk of a conviction for a crime they did not commit.
Learning more about one’s basic rights and using them when interacting with law enforcement can make all of the difference for those who want to do the right thing but also want to avoid criminal prosecution.