If you’ve ever watched a television crime drama, then you know that there are certain rights that individuals have as citizens of the United States (5th Amendment to the United States Constitution). One of these rights comes into play when you are arrested on suspicion of a crime, the right to remain silent in order to prevent from incriminating yourself.
However, an unidentified man (48 years old) arrested on suspicion of DUI in Redwood City recently ended up leading police to the discovery of the body of a woman in his shared East Palo Alto home. Evidently, the man was speaking to police approximately 7 hours after his arrest and “spontaneously” told the police about the body during questioning. Although the unidentified man has not been booked on murder charges, police have already deemed the woman’s death a homicide.
This could be a case of someone who did not properly understand his right to avoid self-incrimination. In the landmark 1966 case, Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court of the United States determined that any U.S. police officer or law enforcement agent must warn suspects before they are interrogated that any statements they make may be used as evidence against them in future proceedings. If a person is properly “Mirandized,” including being informed of their right to consult with an attorney before and/or during police questioning, then whatever information they reveal becomes fair game if they choose to ignore this warning.
Unfortunately, this unnamed man was either not properly read his rights or made the decision to forego them. In any case, this is a good example of what not to do when you are placed under police custody. The smarter option is to seek the counsel of a good attorney who can prevent you from making dire mistakes that may come back to haunt you in a future trial or hearing.