Joshua T. Crain Law Blog

What is Self-Incrimination?

Following an arrest, you may think that you need to comply with law enforcement. You may think that noncompliance will get you in further trouble, so you want to answer all of their questions. Choosing to remain silent is not against the law and is actually your constitutional right.

The Fifth Amendment protects criminal defendants from the moment of their arrest to the courtroom. There are two sides to every story, including a sexual offense. To ensure that your rights are being protected during your criminal case, you should speak with a Tennessee sex crimes attorney now.

Fifth Amendment Rights

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects a criminal defendant “in being a witness against himself.” This means that anyone accused of a crime cannot be forced to provide incriminating testimony. If you have been accused of a crime, there is a danger that if you testify, you will say something that suggests your liability for that crime.

Miranda Rights

If law enforcement detains you following an arrest and plans on questioning you, this is known as custodial interrogation. The officer must read you your Miranda rights, which state that (1) you have the right to remain silent, (2) any statements or omissions you provide can be used to incriminate you, and (3) you have the right to counsel. Not every U.S. citizen knows these inherent rights, so an officer is required to inform you of them.

If you did wish to invoke these rights, you must state that “I wish to invoke my right to remain silent” or a similar phrase to that effect. If you are not read these rights, the testimony you provide will likely be inadmissible at trial.

Miranda v. Arizona

Miranda rights did not exist until the U.S. Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. *In Miranda,* the defendant was taken to the police station for questioning. After two hours of interrogation, the defendant signed a written confession. At trial, both an oral and written confession were admitted into evidence. The jury returned a guilty verdict.

The defendant appealed, and the Supreme Court of Arizona affirmed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that the defendant’s constitutional rights were not violated. The defendant then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reversed the judgment of the lower court. The Supreme Court ruledthat any statements a defendant makes as part of custodial interrogation can only be used if the defendant understands his or her rights.

Incriminating Testimony in Sex Crime Cases

You have the right to remain silent, but that does not mean that police officers will not take all measures to get a confession. If law enforcement wants to coerce testimony, the officer may lie to you. An example of this is a police officer stating that the victim’s fingerprints were found in your apartment when, in fact, that evidence does not exist.

Police officers have other tactics to pressure you to make a statement, which can result in a coerced or false testimony. That is why it is important that a Tennessee sex crimes attorney is with you during each step of a sex crime investigation.

Consult with a Tennessee Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Now

If you have been accused of a sex crime, you need reliable counsel. Law enforcement and the prosecution will do whatever it takes to convict you, even if the accusations against you are false. To schedule your initial consultation, contact The Law Offices of Joshua T. Crain today by calling (615) 697-6178 or online.