Many people facing a confrontation with the police believe that they cannot say “no” or that telling the police no makes a person seem like the he or she has something to hide. However, the reality is that the police never ask you to make a statement, to answer questions or to search your person, property, home or vehicle because they want to keep you from being arrested. Anything you tell the police may be used to build “probable cause” to conduct a search of your home, office, vehicle or person, which may create a legally sufficient basis for an arrest. The best choice if an officer request to speak to you is to decline an interview without legal representation. Your exercise of your Miranda right to remain silent does not create probable cause to conduct a search nor sufficient legal basis for an arrest. You should not lie but instead politely indicate that you are not comfortable speaking without an attorney present.
The jails and prisons throughout the state of Kansas are filled with people who may have avoided incarceration had they just told the police “no.” Any waiver of your Miranda rights and consent to conduct a search must be voluntary for it to be effective, but the very nature of a citizen’s interaction with a police officer rarely is without some feeling of coercion. The reality is that once you decide to talk to a police officer after receiving a Miranda warning, it makes your defense much more difficult for a criminal defense attorney, particularly if you have provided damaging information. In some cases, the police will use that information as probable cause to obtain a warrant and search your home, vehicle, place of work or person. This search may turn up the evidence that lands you in jail.
If you refuse to speak without an attorney present, this is half the battle. It is equally important to refuse consent to a search when asked. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by consenting to a search. Most people presume that the officer is going to search regardless of whether consent is given. This is not a logical assumption. If the officer had sufficient legal basis to search, the officer would conduct a search without even bothering to ask for consent. If the officer is requesting consent to search, there is a good chance the officer knows that there is not sufficient legal basis to search (i.e. exigent circumstances or emergency) or to obtain a warrant.
Discovery of contraband often provides the most damning evidence in criminal cases like those involving drug offenses, theft offenses or weapons offenses. The probable cause to obtain a warrant and the specifics of how the search is conducted can often be challenged. Your criminal defense attorney may be able to get evidence like drugs, stolen property or weapons excluded if the search was illegal. If you consent to a search, your Southwest Kansas criminal defense attorney may lose these grounds for challenging the legal basis for the search as well as the way the search was conducted.
The bottom line is that cooperation with the police will almost never work to your benefit. While the fear of being arrested may motivate you to say “yes” when asked to waive your Miranda rights or to consent to a search, the desire to avoid a criminal conviction is the reason you should just say “no.” Even if you make a statement and consent to a search, an experienced criminal defense attorney, may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed. However, you can start building your defense the moment you are contacted by police by refusing to cooperate, which may create additional legal defenses that your criminal defense attorney will use in plea negotiations or at trial.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a crime, call us today to speak with a Liberal Kansas criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.
Courage, Caring, and Commitment for Every Case – Call (620) 624-8158.
Cities We Serve
Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. serves the Southwest Kansas cities of Liberal, Garden City, Sublette, Elkhart, Johnson City, Hugoton, Ulysses, Dodge City, Meade, Seward county, and serving all other communities in Southwest Kansas.