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How to avoid self-incrimination

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2020 | Criminal Defense

When authorities suspect you of engaging in illegal behavior, they may employ different tactics to get you to admit to what they believe you have done. It is important that you exercise care when communicating with authorities so that you do not inadvertently incriminate yourself and land yourself in serious legal trouble.

Part of knowing how to avoid self-incrimination involves having a solid understanding of your rights in certain situations. To help avoid incriminating yourself when communicating with law enforcement, keep the following in mind.

You (generally) maintain the right to remain silent

In most cases, you do not have to talk to authorities if you prefer not to do so. Authorities also may not punish you for refusing to answer their questions. However, two limited exceptions exist. In Colorado, you must identify yourself if a law enforcement officer asks you to do so. If the officer stops your car, you may also have to furnish your license and registration, but you do not have to answer questions if you do not wish to do so.

You do not have to respond to certain threats

Sometimes, authorities may threaten you with a grand jury subpoena if you refuse to answer their questions. There is a big difference between threatening to get a subpoena and having one in possession. In the absence of one, you do not have to answer any questions. Even if the law enforcement officer has one, you do not have to say anything that may come back to bite you, but you do have to show up in court when directed.

Keeping your cool may go a long way when it comes to communicating with authorities. Knowing your rights and exercising them politely may serve you well and help you avoid trouble in the long run.


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