The most important advice an Denver criminal defense lawyer can give their client in any Colorado criminal case is to remain silent. Attorneys are routinely surprised by how many people actually fail to do this when they are being charged or questioned about a crime – sometimes even after being advised not to talk to the police by an attorney. Please keep in mind that if the police have enough evidence to charge you with a crime, they are going to do that regardless of what you say. If they do not have enough evidence to charge you, speaking to them may provide them with the missing pieces of evidence they need. The point is speaking can’t help you, but can do a lot of harm to the defense of your case.
Here’s how it works. The police in Colorado confront someone, often by surprise so that the accused is not prepared for the situation, and asks questions. The accused, intimidated by the confrontation, wants to appear “compliant” with the officer, so as to look as though they have nothing to hide. Or, the accused thinks that he might be able to talk his way out of the situation. The accused is afraid that he will anger the officer, making matters worse, if he does not talk. Some might even think that they can be arrested simply for not cooperating with police.
Your Constitutional right to remain silent is a powerful thing. What it means is that if you remain silent in response to a question by a police officer or detective, your silence can never be used against you. If the criminal case against you goes to trial, the District Attorney would never be allowed to tell the jury that you didn’t answer any questions, or refused to talk to the police. The police officer would never be allowed to testify that he asked you questions and that you didn’t respond. These facts would remain completely invisible to the jury in your trial.
When talking to the police, you are adding to the total amount of evidence against you. You might think you are saying something unimportant, yet you are likely doing a lot of harm to yourself. For example, you might be innocent of the crime, but because you told the officer that you were in Denver that day, near the crime, they can now prove in court that you had the opportunity to commit the offense. Before you spoke, they might have only been able to show that you had a motive for the crime, but not the opportunity. Notice how this is true whether you are actually guilty or not. By speaking, you have assisted in your own prosecution. In a different example, the police may have proof that you were in Denver, but you tell them you were not. Now they have evidence that makes you look dishonest, and this will later be presented to the jury that decides your case.
Most people have the instinct to try and avoid arrest by talking their way out of the situation. The police know this, and will try to take advantage of it by suggesting that things will go easier for you if you cooperate. No doubt, being arrested is a very uncomfortable experience. However, staying aware of the bigger picture is more important. Allow the police to arrest you if that’s what they intend to do, but remain silent. And remember, the police are allowed to lie to you when they are trying to get you to talk. Don’t be fooled – regardless of what they say, don’t talk to them.
It is best to talk to a Denver criminal lawyer, and to no one else, when you are being investigated for – or accused of – any crime. When you are consulting an attorney for advice about a criminal charge, you are protected by the attorney’s duty of confidentiality. Even if you have not retained the lawyer, the lawyer cannot disclose what you have said to anyone. It is important to remember that even friends and family members could be called as witnesses against you. Don’t put yourself, or others, in this situation. Remain silent and only discuss the case with a a qualifired Denver criminal defense attorney.