Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

While police officers are not allowed to coerce you into making a statement, they are trained and experienced in tricking suspects into speaking and making confessions knowingly or unknowingly. Words like “your friend already confessed it” or “we know you did it” are meant to convince you to say things that can incriminate you. 

Note that neither a detective nor a police captain has the authority to ask you to “corporate” in exchange for favorable treatment. Such negotiations can only happen between a Denver criminal justice attorney and the District Attorney. So, if you must speak to the police, don’t do it without a legal representative.

How Does the Miranda Rule Protect Me?

The Supreme Court announced the Miranda procedure in 1966 in the Miranda v. Arizona case. Notably, this rule’s application has been modified over the years, and a knowledgeable Denver felony lawyer can keep you updated.

The Miranda rule was informed by the need to:

  • Prevent ‘third-degree’ interrogations 
  • Improve the perception that the public holds towards the administration of justice
  • Eliminate subtle forms of coercion that was previously used by police on suspects in custody
  • Balance power and give the suspect some control over the interrogations if they decide to waive their Miranda rights

Can My Statements Incriminate Me if I Speak to the Police?

If you are arrested or pulled over in Colorado, the only questions you are obliged to answer are those regarding your identification and details of your motor vehicle. Your Denver DUI attorney will fight to ensure any evidence obtained in violation of your Miranda rights is not used in court.

However, statements you give when you waive your Miranda rights may be valid if it was:

  • Timely
  •  Implied or express
  • Voluntary
  • Intelligent
  •  Knowing
  •  Not a result of impermissible pre-waiver tactics

Note that the police are responsible for informing you of your rights to remain silent, your right to get an attorney, and the implications of your statements. A police officer cannot argue that you acted in a manner that implied that you were aware of your Miranda rights and use your words against you.

What If I Didn’t Understand My Rights When I Spoke to the Officer?

The police are usually required to ask the suspect if they have understood the Miranda rights stated to them. However, you can argue that your mental state at the time was impaired by a mental disorder, a learning disability, physical injuries, drugs, or alcohol. You can also defend what you said using the argument that English is your second language.

But if your answers to the officer’s questions were coherent and responsive, the court may reject the “I did not understand” argument. Basically, there is no way you could have been rational enough to understand the questions and not the Miranda rule. Apart from your responses, the court may analyze your intelligence, background, education, experience, and age.

Do Minors Have Rights to Speak or Not Speak to the Police?

Miranda rights also apply to minors, and the police must inform them of their rights and responsibilities before taking them into juvenile custody. However, a minor in Colorado cannot waive their right to not answer questions in the absence of their parent or guardian. However, the parent can agree or refuse to the waive if the child has to be questioned. 

If the police refuse to let the child speak to the parent or an attorney, the parent can file a complaint against the department or the officers involved. One can file a lawsuit for violation of a child’s civil rights if the minor was deprived of rest, water, or food or was physically abused during interrogation by police.

Can the Police Question a Minor That is a Witness or Victim of a Crime?

The police can question a child witness just like they would an adult. However, if the parent is present, they have to ask for them to consent first. A parent can refuse the interview if they feel like it would traumatize the minor or if they fear that someone can retaliate against the child.

If the authorities feel like you are not acting in the child’s best interest or are protecting someone else at the minor’s expense, you can be charged for child neglect or obstruction of justice.

Your Denver criminal defense attorney can guide you on whether or not to let the police interview the minor. Most times, authorities refer interviews involving minors to agencies with professionals specially trained in interviewing children without improperly influencing them. 

Won’t I Look Guilty If I Don’t Speak to the Police?

Refusing to speak to the police without your attorney’s presence will make you look smart, not guilty. Speak politely, and tell them that you are invoking your right to keep quiet and need an attorney. It will stop them from convincing you and lying to you that talking to them is in your best interest, yet it is not.

Speaking through your Colorado criminal defense lawyer protects you from self-incriminating statements, and you can pass some information to the prosecution without fear. For instance, no police can stand in court and say things like, “your attorney said that you admitted to committing the crime.”

Sometimes, an attorney can allow their client to meet and give the prosecutor “intel” under a “proffer agreement,” which guarantees that the statements can’t be used against them.

A Legal Representative to Safeguard Your Rights

An attorney knows every criminal statute, the rules of evidence, the rules of criminal procedure, and the case law interpretation of each law and statute. You may think that it is ideal to talk yourself out of the crime, but you may be admitting to an offense that you aren’t aware that you even committed. 

If the police intend to arrest you, nothing you say or do not say can change that. Remember that it is okay not to speak to the officers until your attorney arrives. Remain calm and call your criminal defense lawyer immediately. 

Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.