The Misadventures of Quinxy truths, lies, and everything in between!

10Mar/110

Why Say Anything to Police? Always Invoke your Miranda Rights!

I uphold the law, at least as much as anyone does or can.  Whether we all like to admit it or not, we all do or have fallen afoul of the law in one way or another.  Perhaps you regularly go 5 mph over the speed limit in order to keep up with traffic, perhaps you've accepted a mix tape someone made you which contained copyrighted music, perhaps you ran out of doggie bags and didn't pick up after your pooch.  Most of us attempt to be good citizens and see the police as a force for good, protecting us from others and on rare occasions from ourselves.  In our contacts with police our natural inclination is and should be to be forthcoming, to be transparent because we have nothing to hide, to assist an inquiring officer in his investigation even though it may involve us.  But I have begun to wonder what purpose that actually serves, whether being forthcoming in a situation where you are of interest to them is ever in your best interest.  Your Miranda Rights give you the option of refusing to speak and as far as I can tell you're almost always better off letting a lawyer guide your answers to their questions.  Whatever you say will be potentially used against you, will be interpreted through a filter of their perception of events.  The lesson I've learned from watching documentaries and reality crime shows is that the suspect who attempts to be honorable and transparent never achieves a better outcome.  Instead, time and time again, it is the criminal who refuses to admit anything who is given all the breaks, often in the form of greatly reduced charges or sentences if they ultimately admit their role in a crime.  Someone immediately remorseful and honorably willing to to accept their punishment is given a harsher sentence because the prosecutor has no motivation to be lenient, and arguably only an incentive to press for the harshest sentence whenever possible to ensure their record as being tough on crime.  I wish the system was not this way, that the system encouraged people to be honest, to admit their transgressions, to accept the punishment for their crimes, but it is not, and it makes little sense for the worst criminals to receive disproportionately lighter sentences.  As such, I believe everyone should exercise their Miranda Rights.

There are to be sure some limited exceptions to this, in particular where silence may encourage extra police scrutiny at a time when resources are vitally and immediately needed (such as a father waiving their Miranda Rights to help the police exclude him in order to focus on searching for his missing child).

^ Quinxy